Ho­gan an­nounces re­place­ment for Gov. Nice Bridge

$800 mil­lion pro­ject ex­pected to open in 2023

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com

Maryland Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) an­nounced Mon­day af­ter­noon that the state will be mov­ing for­ward on build­ing a re­place­ment for the Gov. Harry Nice Me­mo­rial Bridge, which will break ground in 2020 and be com­pleted by 2023.

The Maryland Trans­porta­tion Author­ity unan­i­mously voted to re­place the bridge on Mon­day morn­ing and Ho­gan’s ap­proval of the plan sealed the fu­ture of the bridge re­place­ment.

The pro­ject de­sign will be com­pleted in 2018

and the over­all cost of the pro­ject will be $806.3 mil- lion, Ho­gan said, which is a “sig­nif­i­cant” de­crease in costs from the South­ern Maryland Del­e­ga­tion’s pro­posed bridge re­place­ment plan that Ho­gan said would have cost $1 bil­lion and de­layed the bridge’s open­ing un­til 2030.

State Sec­re­tar y of Trans- por­ta­tion Pete Rahn said the bridge will be “to the north” of the cur­rent bridge. It will have two lanes go­ing in both di­rec- tions in hopes of pre­vent- ing se­ri­ous back­ups due to ac­ci­dents or ve­hi­cle is- sues. The bridge will also fea­ture shoul­ders and bik- ing lanes, Rahn said.

Re­plac­ing the bridge was “al­ways a pri­or­ity” for the Ho­gan ad­min­is­tra­tion, he said, de­spite leg­is­la­tors try­ing to “bla­tantly misin- form” con­stituents. There were mis­guided “spe­cial leg­is­la­tors and spe­cial in- ter­est groups” push­ing against the bridge in the back­ground, he said, and that threat­ened the ad­min­is­tra­tion from do­ing its job and find­ing a way to re­place the bridge.

Lo­cal leg­is­la­tors were “work­ing strongly against the over­whelm­ing de­sire of their con­stituents to build the bridge,” he said. “They played po­lit­i­cal games by vot­ing to de­lay and to in­ter­fere and po­ten­tially kill our on­go­ing ef­forts to re­place this bridge.”

Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D) said de­spite Ho­gan’s ac­cu­sa­tions of leg­is­la­tors try­ing to play po­lit­i­cal games, “I’m go­ing to fo­cus on the pos­i­tives of this.”

“From the pos­i­tive, this is a his­toric day for the county. There have been so many who have tried to make this a re­al­ity so I am bask­ing in the glory of the Maryland Trans­porta­tion Author­ity tak­ing a unan­i­mous vote to get this done,” he said.

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