Project Clean Stream volunteers clean county waterways
— Volunteers did some spring cleaning for the county’s waterways as part of Project Clean Stream’s 13th annual spring cleanup Saturday morning.
The purpose of the project, created by the Alliance
for the Chesapeake Bay, is to clean up the Chesapeake Bay’s watershed’s rivers and streams. The Octoraro Watershed Association and Sassafras River Association held cleanups that day as well. The trash and debris collected is then dumped at the county landfill free of charge.
Members of the Elk and North East Watershed River Associations helped to clean up the Little Northeast Creek.
perilously close to traffic on the two-lane bridge, it will require a closure of one lane for much of the duration of project, creating traffic delays for the 13,500 vehicles that cross the span daily, officials acknowledged.
Corps officials are working with the Maryland State Highway Administration to install temporary traffic lights at either end of the bridge when delays begin. The lights will be set on a cycle of no more than eight minutes for northbound and southbound traffic, with the traffic lights capable of counting the cars passing under them and ensuring all pass through the other side before enabling the reverse flow, Boyle said.
A third traffic signal is also plan-
ning on being installed at the northbound entrance to Route 213 from the town’s south side, which enters traffic near the start of the bridge, Boyle said. Without such a signal, town officials were worried that residents and visitors would be blocked by the backup of northbound traffic.
“If you close the lanes for too long people grow frustrated,” he said.
While the Corps will be encouraging drivers to consider other canal crossings, the nearest detour back to Route 213 would be nearly 12 miles away using the Summit Bridge, meaning many drivers would be better suited to wait out the delay.
Meanwhile, project officials have been in contact with the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services to ensure that first responders can change the light schedule as needed to accommodate their efforts. The Cecil Coun-
ty Public Schools Office of Transportation is also aware of the project and is developing a plan to make any necessary adjustments during the course of the project, according to school officials.
The preventative project will both beautify and protect the bridge, as crews sandblast off the deteriorating paint from rails and stairwells along the bridge, replace the chain link fencing, complete necessary repairs and repaint the affected areas, Boyle said. The bridge, when completed in 1948, was done primarily in leadbased paint, which is now known to be a toxic material, Boyle said. While a repainting project in 2000 saw the removal of the original paint and reapplication of new, non-lead-based paint, the Corps is still exercising caution by employing lead paint procedures with the upcoming project.
Areas of the bridge to be sandblasted will be covered in a protec-
tive cloth and crews removing the paint will be in full protective suits in case some lead-based paint remained after the last project, Boyle said.
While Chesapeake City Mayor Dean Geracimos said Friday that he was excited that the longsought-after repainting of the pedestrian bridge was finally occurring, he was also worried about its unfortunate timing. For the proper adhesion of the paint to the steel bridge, painting has to occur while temperatures remain consistently above 40 degrees.
“Obviously it’s the toughest time of the year to be shutting dow a lane of the bridge, but for the paint being put on it can only be done then. It’s a bit of a Catch-22,” Geracimos said.
The mayor said he was more disappointed to find out that the project would not be replacing the bridge’s original railings, but simply repairing and repainting them.
“It was original billed to us that it was a $3 million project, but that has since more than doubled,” he said. “When I heard about the higher bids, my hopes were high that it was a replacement job, but it’s an expensive painting job instead.”
Geracimos also sought for the Corps to paint the railings a more atheistically pleasing high-gloss black, which would tie in better with the historical revitalization the town is undergoing, than the previous gray. While officials told him at their March 28 meeting that the request might be able to be honored, Boyle was not so sure Friday.
“They will likely be more of a gray, because black tends to fade quickly and in the summer it can get too hot creating a potential burn hazard for pedestrians on the bridge,” he explained. “It also more easily shows dirt and damage.”
George Kaplan, cleans up the creek that leads into the Little Northeast Creek behind St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church.
Chuck Foster, Elise Payne, John Hagee and Tom Payne stand in front of the trash they collected at one of two sites.