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Virtually the only thing in Morgantown is the power plant. The Mirant Morgantown Generating Station is listed as a point of interest in Charles County. The power plant is highly visible from both the bridge and the river.
I have actually been to the power plant (as an OSHA inspector) when they were re-habbing the boilers. The plant uses coal which is brought in on rail cars. My son used to work there for a contractor. Since I was there, PEPCO (Potomac Electric Power Co.) which sold the plant to to the Southern Company in December 2000 as a result of the restructuring of the electricity generating industry in Maryland. The station was included in the Mirant spin-off in April 2001. It was sometimes referred to as the Pope's Creek Power Plant.
The facility consists of two base loaded 624 MW coal-fired steam generating units, four 65 MW oil-fired peaking combustion units, and two 18 MW black start peaking turbines. The two coal-fired units are base-loaded supercritical steam units which went into operation in 1970 and 1971. The four peaking units are General Electric Frame 7 units which went into operation in 1973, while the two black start peaking units are General Electric Frame 5 units which went into operation in 1970 and 1971.
Coal is delivered to the Morgantown generating station by CSX Transportation train using the Pope's Creek Subdivision rail line. Construction of a coal barge unloading pier on the Potomac River began in 2007.
Their website says: Morgantown Station voluntarily installed electrostatic precipitators, nearly eradicating flyash with a 99.5% reduction. The plant also collects and treats runoff and wastewater, protecting the Potomac River from contamination.
Mirant's Morgantown generating plant was ranked as the best coal-fired plant in terms of heat-rate efficiency in the United States in Electric Power & Light magazine's 2004 survey of power plants
Updated Sep 27, 2011
The Potomac River Bridge on US 301 is actually named the Harry W. Nice Bridge. Harry was a Governor of MD. Many of the bridges in MD seemed to be named after ex-governors (the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is the Gov Preston Lane Bridge, and the Patuxent River Bridge (Rt. 4) is the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
The bridge marks the dividing line between the Lower Potomac Estuary and the Upper Estuary. It is the only Potomac crossing below Washington. It was espoused by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry Nice who was then Governor of Maryland
At approximately this point, a famous ferry ran from Morgantown, Md. to Mathias Point (photo 4) in Virginia, as early as 1705. The ferry was part of the shortest route between the capitals of Maryland and Virginia (Annapolis and Richmond) and served as a principal link in the journeys of many early Americans, including George Washington, George Mason, and other founding fathers.
The site of one of the river crossings by John Wilkes Booth after his assassination of Abraham Lincoln is upstream a short way from here at Pope's Creek.
The Harry W. Nice Bridge is operated by the Maryland Transportation Authority. Tolls are $3.00 for cars, collected southbound only.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
U.S. 301 in Maryland and Virginia is a four lane divided (but not a limited access) highway. The bridge, however, is only 2 lanes. That means that all the traffic (no matter whether coming north or south) has to funnel down from 2 lanes to one lane. This is worse on the Virginia side IMO because the Maryland side has the toll booths to shuffle the cars together.
When we came over the bridge on Memorial Day 2004, the traffic on the Virginia side was backed up bumper to bumper all the way to Dahlgren. (The northbound traffic is heaviest at the end of a holiday.) Once we got to the bridge there was almost no traffic.
The second problem is that when there is construction on the bridge, it is almost always done on the weekend. So not only will four lanes funnel down to two lanes, it may be that there is one way traffic on the bridge with four lanes constricted down to one. Photo 3 shows the construction blockade from the bridge, and photos 4 and 5 show it from the water.
Updated Sep 30, 2008
This is a toll bridge, but they only collect the toll going south from Morgantown to Dahlgren VA, and not the other way. So if you plans work out that way, you will avoid the toll if you go south on some other road.
The left-hand toll lane is for EZ Pass and if you have one of those it will be much faster.
Updated Sep 30, 2008
US 301 is called Crain Highway in Maryland.
Crain Memorial Welcome Center is located approximately two miles north of the Potomac River on northbound U.S. 301 in Charles County Maryland, this facility is the gateway into Southern Maryland from Virginia. It isn't directly visible from the highway - you have to look for the signs
This center has information on Maryland including maps and brochures.
Coming south there is an information center just on the other side of the bridge in Virginia (photo 4 taken going north so you have to go across the highway)
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Phone: Ph. (301) 259-2500.
From the bridge you may be able to see barges which are waiting to go up or down the river. You can also see some of the Aids TO Navigation (ATONs). There is a green spider downstream from the bridge and there is another green spider upstream. [Green means that it is on the south side of the river.] The numbering starts at the mouth of the Potomac and starts over again on the north side of the bridge.
Written Sep 30, 2008
Every time we cross the 301 bridge to Virginia, I see this marina out of the window (photo 2 and photo 5).
I've never had our boat here, but the Potomac River Guide says: "A large, full-service marina operates on the north side of the Potomac River Bridge carrying U.S. 301. The marina services large power boats and sailing vessels, and also has boats for rent. A campground is available for recreational vehicles"
Equipment: A diagram of the marina is in picture 4
Updated Sep 30, 2008
Address: 301 Potomac River Bridge, Newburg, MD 20664.
Favorite thing: Waverley is a large two-story brick house on Waverly Point Road, in Morgantown. It is in the National Register of Historic Places. I have not been there (yet).
The five-bay, Flemish-bond principal facade of the main block, facing the Potomac River, has a centered, elliptically headed entrance framed by paneled jambs and headed by a leaded fanlight. Within the doorway and flanking the double door are narrow tapered columns and three-pane sidelights. At the base of the fanlight and hidden by a shelf above the door are two small lead figures of a boy and girl, purportedly giving good fortune to those who pass beneath. Flanking this entrance are four large windows of 12/12 lights, with flat arches of splayed stretcher brick. Across the second floor level are five windows of 8/12 sash. Below the first floor windows are four small wood-barred cellar windows. There is no watertable. Toward the end of the 19th century a one-story porch was built across this elevation and traces of its outline can be discerned in the brickwork. A brick entrance stoop now fronts the doorway. The rear (north) elevation of the main block was originally only three bays in width, but a later addition (c. 1823) built against the east end toward the northeast corner extended this facade an additional two bays at both floor levels. Centered on the original wall area is an arched doorway similar in treatment to that of the principal facade except that the arch frames an unornamented board panel. Original brickwork behind this panel negates any possibility that the arch once framed a fanlight. The two flanking windows and the three second floor windows are treated in the same manner as those of the facade. On both elevations the roof cornice is of stepped brick with one course of brick set on the diagonal in a sawtooth fashion. The two first and second floor bays of the addition consist of transomed end doors and adjacent windows treated the same as those of the main block. At the time that the addition was made, a two-story porch with balustraded roof supported by tapered Doric columns was built across the entire rear facade. Mortises for the floor and roof joists of the porch, provided for when the wing was built, but punched into the walls of the main block, document the fact that the addition and porch were contemporary to one another. This porch was removed and rebuilt in the 1960s. Both ends of the main block are of common bond construction, with two windows on each floor level on the fully exposed west end. At each end of the house are two flush chimneys joined by brick curtain walls to a point slightly above the roof peak. On each end of the house, between the top of the curtains and the top of the attic window heads, the initials "MAH" (for Morgan A. Harris) are set in glazed headers. Just above the initials, again at both ends, is a small lozenge, also of glazed headers. It is thought that the curtains, initials, and small diamonds were additions made after the house was first built. The roof is presently covered with slate, but fragments of earlier wood shingles survive in the attic of the main block. At the east end of the house stands a long one-story kitchen-hyphen wing of undetermined age. All interior woodwork is characteristic of the Federal period.
Written Sep 27, 2011
Favorite thing: The Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge is where US 301 crosses the Potomac River. The 1.7 mile bridge was opened to traffic in December 1940 and links Maryland and Virginia. It was originally called the Potomac River Toll Bridge but was renamed in 1967 by the State Roads Commission for Harry W. Nice (1877-1941), who served as governor from 1935 to 1939 because Governor Nice was instrumental in getting the bridge built.
Apparently there are tours of the bridge available
Fondest memory: My un-fondest memory of this bridge concerns coming across it in the mid 80s when it was being painted and renovated. They closed one lane at a time, and had a stop light to control traffic. On 4th of July weekend (very hot) I was hauling a horse trailer. The light was automatic, a certain length of time for each side. But all the traffic was going north. Traffic backed up almost all the way to Fort A.P. Hill. When it was our time to go (depending on how many semi trucks were up at the top) we would go maybe 1/4 of the way across and then stop for the non-existent traffic from the other side. While we were stopped on the bridge we could feel the bridge bouncing gently, and we could only hold our breath that the horses wouldn't get too hot and neither would the truck engine.
Updated Sep 30, 2008