SHA: Rt. 272 bridge project to be re-bid
New finish date is fall 2018, mayor says
— Following months of uncertainty and delays, the State Highway Administration announced Thursday that construction on the Route 272 bridge project will be re-bid in December.
The news was first announced at a North East town meeting on Wednesday night when Mayor Robert McKnight said he’d been told by the agency that the project would be re-bid in December with construction set to start in the spring and finish by fall 2018.
On Thursday morning, Charlie Gischlar, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration,
confirmed that the project would be re-bid in December. The remainder of McKnight’s timeline “sounds about right,” he said, but more details will be released in the next few days.
The news comes after a nearly eight-month work stoppage on the project that was characterized by little public communication from SHA, even as local officials tried to get updates on the status of the bridge that serves as the main entrance into town.
Construction on the Route 272 bridge over Amtrak lines had been stalled since February due to a dispute between the contractor, Mumford and Miller Concrete Inc., of Middletown, Del., and the state.
During the nearly six months when the dispute was ongoing, SHA provided little information about the bridge’s status, repeatedly telling local officials that they couldn’t release more details because it was a “legal matter.” But at the end of August, the agency confirmed that the dispute had been resolved and the contract terminated, and that a new bid package was in the works.
At Wednesday night’s town meeting, McKnight said SHA officials told him that the new timeline would only be nine months longer than originally planned.
“We’re not going to argue about days and months, we just want to get it finished,” he said.
McKnight also noted that Delegate Kevin Hornberger (R-Cecil) and County Councilman Dan Schneckenburger had also reached out to him in the last few days to discuss the bridge.
“All the governments seem to be in line thinking this is going to get done and get done as quickly as possible,” he said.