Mechanics Valley Road bridge replacement process starts
— The Cecil County Department of Public Works is in the early stages of a project to replace the Mechanics Valley Road bridge over CSX Railroad.
Construction is not expected to start until 2019 at the earliest, but DPW held an informational meeting about the project on Tuesday night at the North East Fire Company. John Fabian, project engineer, said the meeting was well attended, mostly by people who own property in the area of Mechanics Valley and Bouchelle roads.
“We were happy with the turnout,” Fabian said. “Of course, people always have concerns, but that’s why we have those meetings.”
Construction on the new bridge would likely take nine to 12 months with a detour necessary for as long as eight of those months. The detour currently being considered would have drivers go north up Bouchelle Road, then west on Warburton Road to Route 272 and south down Route 272 to Route 40, Fabian said.
While the current bridge is in “fair condition,” it’s also functionally obsolete Fabian said, meaning it’s not wide enough for the approximately 5,000 vehicles that cross the span daily. The new bridge will be wider and have shoulders, Fabian said.
Since the project is in the early stages and design is still be completed, Fabian said he doesn’t have an estimate for how much the new bridge will cost. But the bridge is part of the federal bridge replacement program, which means 80 percent of the cost will come from federal dollars with the remaining 20 percent coming from local sources, he noted.
Right now, DPW just completed a study to examine alignment options for the new bridge and Fabian said the final alignment will depend on factors such as cost, property and utility impacts and the duration of construction.
“There’s not one factor, it’s a lot of different factors,” he said.
The next step for DPW is to work with the State Highway Administration to select an alignment and a design, Fabian said.
The county is in the early stages of a project to replace the Mechanics Valley Road bridge over the CSX Railroad.