The Woodrow Wilson Bridge carries the infamous Washington Beltway over the Potomac River connecting Alexandria, Virginia, and Prince Georges County, Maryland, and passes through the southernmost corner of the District of Columbia between the two states. The original bridge was built in the early 1960s and was a draw bridge with three lanes in both directions. When the Beltway was widened to four lanes in each direction, the lane reduction and sporadic bridge openings often, resulted in massive traffic jams, particularly during rush hour. By the late 1990s the bridge was carrying many times the volume for which it was designed, and its condition was deteriorating. That resulted in a two span replacement that was higher so the openings were rare, and each span carries five lanes of traffic. The project cost over two billion dollars and took about six years to complete.
One great new feature is a wide trail along the north side of the north span. The old bridge did not have any way for pedestrians or bicyclists to cross the river. On the bridge there are three overlooks with signs telling about the history of the capital region, distant views of the Washington Monument and U.S. Capitol Building, and nearby views of old town Alexandria and the George Washington Masonic Memorial tower, which is one of the settings of Dan Brown's novel, The Lost Symbol. There is a small park on the Maryland side with nice views of the bridge and the river. It has information about aquatic life in the river and the history of Prince Georges County.
The trail on the Maryland side connects with a path leading to National Harbor. It is a growing complex with a convention center, hotels, restaurants, stores, and high rise residential buildings.
In February 2008, the much larger than life five-piece sculpture, "The Awakening" was moved from Hains Point in East Potomac Park where it had been on loan to National Harbor whose developer bought it. It depicts a man seemingly arising from out of the ground as he stretches upon awakening. Visitors still love to climb on the various body parts and pose for pictures. In its new setting surrounded by walkways it seems even larger than at its previous location.