Corps: Ches. City bridge work to fin­ish mid-Nov.

De­lay caused by weather

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By JA­COB OWENS Fol­low us on

jowens@ ce­cil­whig. com

— Those who live, work and play be­low the C& D Canal will have to bear with con­struc­tion for a just a lit­tle bit longer, but work on the Ch­e­sa­peake City Bridge is ex­pected to be com­pleted be­fore the hol­i­days ar­rive, ac­cord­ing to U. S. Army Corps of En­gi­neers of­fi­cials.

While the orig­i­nal com­ple­tion date was set for

CH­E­SA­PEAKE CITY

late Oc­to­ber, the Corps is now aim­ing to fin­ish its five- month re­paint­ing project in the sec­ond or third week of Novem­ber, Corps spokesman Tim Boyle said on Tues­day.

“We are on sched­ule,” he said. “We’ve ba­si­cally dou­bled the crew size, so they have a lot more hands on site get­ting the work done … We also went from five to six days of work ear­lier in the sum­mer, adding Satur­days.”

Res­i­dents have no­ticed that pickup in re­cent weeks as the eastern side of the span has been fin­ished and those who were once wor­ried about the speed of the project’s com­ple­tion early in the sum­mer have voiced their plea­sure about the uptick of ac­tiv­ity in re­cent town meet­ings.

While the speed of work has picked up, weather is still the big­gest hin­drance to the Corps’ sched­ule.

“Re­ally the wind more than the rain, but we’ve def­i­nitely had a slow­down of pro­duc­tiv­ity due to safety con­cerns,” Boyle said. “Un­less we have an­other round or two of hur­ri­canes, we should be right on tar­get.”

Ch­e­sa­peake City Mayor Dean Geraci­mos said Tues­day that he un­der­stood the rea­son for the slight de­lay in the sched­ule.

“There’s not much any of us can do about the weather,” he said.

Geraci­mos, who cham­pi­oned the re­paint­ing project as part of his re­vi­tal­iza­tion plan for the wa­ter­front town, said it has been a dif­fi­cult sum­mer as res­i­dents and vis­i­tors dealt with the headache, but the re­sult will be worth it.

“The prod­uct so far looks re­ally good,” he said. “It’s been a pain for ev­ery­body, but in an­other month or so we’ll be back to nor­mal.”

The Corps, which main­tains the 68- year- old bridge as the agency re­spon­si­ble for the up­keep and safety of the Ch­e­sa­peake & Delaware Canal, orig­i­nally hoped to star t the project in late April, but in­stead kicked of f in early June as it worked through traf­fic con­trol is­sues.

Cor­con Inc., an Ohiobased con­struc­tion firm that spe­cial­izes in bridge paint­ing and has com­pleted ma­jor projects like the Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadel­phia and the Brook­lyn Bridge in New York City, has been tasked with the $ 6.8 mil­lion project, which will both beau­tify and pro­tect the bridge, as crews sand­blast off the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing paint from rails and stair wells along the bridge, re­place the chain link fenc­ing, com- plete nec­es­sary re­pairs and re­paint the af fected ar­eas.

With crews work­ing per­ilously close to traf fic on the two- lane bridge, how­ever it re­quires a clo­sure of one lane for the du­ra­tion of the project, cre­at­ing traf­fic de­lays for the 13,500 ve­hi­cles that cross the span daily.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Driv­ers will only have to con­tend with the Ch­e­sa­peake City Bridge traf­fic for a few more weeks as the Corps of En­gi­neers plans to fin­ish the project in mid-Novem­ber.

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