Bridge project will be put on hold for July Fourth hol­i­day

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By DARA MCBRIDE

dm­cbride@ce­cil­whig.com

— The fire­works will be fly­ing, and the bridge will be open for In­de­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions in canal town.

U.S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers of­fi­cials started their Ch­e­sa­peake City Bridge re­paint­ing project in early June. Town of­fi­cials were con­cerned that the project would put a se­ri­ous damper on their fire­works and fes­tiv­i­ties, which this year are planned for the Fri­day be­fore July Fourth. The near­est de­tour back to Route 213 is nearly 12 miles away us­ing the Sum­mit Bridge in Delaware.

How­ever, the Army Corps of En­gi­neers and its bridge re­pair con­trac­tors will re­move their equip­ment from the bridge on Thurs­day and re- in­stall it on July 6, en­abling the bridge to have two open lanes for the In­de­pen­dence Day hol­i­day week­end. Rail­ing re­pairs, re­place­ments and paint­ing will re­sume af­ter the hol­i­day and con­tinue on until completion in early fall.

As the an­nual pa­tri­otic cel­e­bra­tion typ­i­cally draws thou­sands to Ch­e­sa­peake City, Carla Min­ers, the eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor for Ch­e­sa­peake City, said she wrote a let­ter to the Corps saying it was es­sen­tially “not an op­tion” to have the bridge closed for the hol­i­day.

She said the cam­paign to put a pause on the project was “a ma­jor group ef­fort” between town hall, the fire com­pany and lo­cal po­lice.

“I guess some­body lis-

CH­E­SA­PEAKE CITY

tened,” Min­ers said.

The Corps main­tains the 68- year- old bridge as the agency re­spon­si­ble for the up­keep and safety of the Ch­e­sa­peake & Delaware Canal. Cor­con Inc., an Ohio- based con­struc­tion firm that spe­cial­izes in bridge paint­ing, is han­dling the cur­rent $ 6.8 mil­lion up­date.

With crews work­ing almost daily and per­ilously close to traf­fic on the twolane bridge, the project re­quires the clo­sure of one lane for much of the du­ra­tion of project, cre­at­ing traf­fic de­lays for the 13,500 ve­hi­cles that cross the span daily.

Those cars will now be able to eas­ily ac­cess town for the In­de­pen­dence Day fes­ti­val next Fri­day. The cel­e­bra­tions start at 5 p. m. in Pell Gar­dens with a con­cert in the park from Stone’s Throw, which has played this wa­ter­front hol­i­day venue in years past, hosted by Ch­e­sa­peake City’s Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Ch­e­sa­peake City’s fire­works dis­play at 9 p. m. ends the evening. Best view­ing is any­where along the canal, on ei­ther the north or south side of town. The show is spon­sored by the Town of Ch­e­sa­peake City, the Ch­e­sa­peake Inn and Ma­rina and Schae­fers Restau­rant and Canal Bar

Folks are en­cour­aged to re­turn to town on July 2 for the start of the Sum­mer Sun­days in the Park con­cert se­ries in Pell Gar­dens’ Band Shell. Through­out the sum­mer, con­certs will take place on Sun­days from 5 to 7 p. m.

FILE PHOTO

July Fourth rev­el­ers will be able to eas­ily ac­cess Ch­e­sa­peake City’s In­de­pen­dence Day since the town’s bridge project will be put on hold for the hol­i­day week­end.

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