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Posted by E-bike Lovers on July 24, 2023 - Latest revision July 24, 2023  Reading time: minutes remaining

Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge Renovation Project: Connecting the C&O Canal Towpath with Harpers Ferry for Cyclists and E-bikers

The Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge, a trail connection traversing the beautiful landscapes of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail over the Potomac River, has been a silent spectator of the evolving trends in outdoor activities.

Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge's narrow staircase. Source: MDOT.

The current state of the footbridge, especially the narrow and steep spiral staircase, has been a significant hurdle for e-bikers and analog cyclists with bike trailers. The staircase has proven to be a stumbling block in what could otherwise be a seamless journey across the Potomac River.

The stairs are too steep and narrow, making carrying an e-bike up or down difficult or even impossible.

New Funding for A Cycling Ramp

Recognizing this barrier, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) generously funded the National Park Service (NPS) to make the footbridge more accessible for e-bikers. The aim is to provide bicyclists with a direct and safe passage between the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park and the Byron pedestrian walkway.

Design Alternatives

Following research and impact analysis, several alternatives were considered. The key considerations were safety, accessibility, visual impact, and resilience to flooding. Four alternatives were proposed, each with its pros and cons. These ranged from facilitating two-way traffic to minimizing the footprint and visual impact on the surrounding environment.

After extensive deliberation, Alternative 3 was selected. This option involves constructing a ramp with a small footprint and visual impact, allowing two-way traffic and analog cyclists and e-bikers with trailers to cross the Potomac River.

Goodloe Byron Memorial Footbridge's proposed new ramp. Source: MDOT.

In the coming months, the NPS will finalize the new design, including consultation with the State Historic Preservation Offices of Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia, conducting hydraulic modeling for river flood stages, developing design and construction drawings from schematic designs, and eventually undertaking construction.

Construction Costs

The construction cost of the new ramp is expected to be at most $5 million. Governor Hogan has allocated $2.4 million towards the Byron Bridge access project in Washington County to establish the new link between the Byron Bridge and the C&O Canal Towpath in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Goodloe Edgar Byron


Goodloe Edgar Byron (June 22, 1929 – October 11, 1978) was an American Democratic politician who was the member of the United States House of Representatives for Maryland's 6th congressional district from 1971 until his death.

The bridge is named after him.

Goodloe Byron


The new bridge ramp provides a direct and safe connection between the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Canal Pathway and Harpers Ferry. This connection is a crucial development for e-bikers and cyclists, integrating two popular biking routes, enhancing accessibility, and offering more variety for cycling adventures.


  • https://hallways.cap.gsa.gov/app/#/dv/federal-business-forecast/details/33745
  • https://tristatealert.com/gov-hogan-announces-35-7m-for-bicycle-ped-and-trail-projects-including-2-4m-for-byron-bridge-in-washington-county/
  • https://www.mdot.maryland.gov/OPCP/Byron_Bridge.pdf

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