Me­chan­ics Val­ley Road bridge re­place­ment process starts

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA

jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

— 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.

NORTH EAST

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.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

The county is in the early stages of a project to re­place the Me­chan­ics Val­ley Road bridge over the CSX Rail­road.

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