Bridge lane clos­ings will hap­pen at night

Record Observer - - News -

BAL­TI­MORE — The State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion has re­vised its plans for work­ing on the Route 213 bridge over the Ch­ester River in April and May and has an­nounced that no day­time lane clo­sures are now planned.

In a state­ment re­leased on Tues­day, April 12, SHA said its con­trac­tor — Cov­ing­ton Ma­chine and Weld­ing — will “only close a lane and al­ter­nate traf­fic with flag­ging oper­a­tions dur­ing night­time hours, Sun­days through Thurs­days to min­i­mize im­pacts to busi­nesses and lo­cal traf­fic.”

SHA had said at a Kent County Com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing on April 5 that it would be clos­ing one lane of the bridge as of April 18 for up to five days each week for five weeks to re­place steel stringers be­neath the draw span. It said that work has to be com­pleted be­fore the bridge is closed com­pletely in mid-July for up to four weeks for paint­ing and other work on the draw span.

“SHA re­vised the plan this week based on com­mu­nity in­put, ex­tend­ing the length of time for com­ple­tion of the steel re­pair and avoid­ing day­time lane clo­sures,” the state­ment said. Lo­cal of­fi­cials and citizens said the April 5 an­nounce­ment of the round-the-clock lane clo­sure was the first they had heard of any sig­nif­i­cant clos­ing prior to the start of the July work.

The agency said the con­trac­tor will have to open the draw­bridge for brief pe­ri­ods — up to 15 min­utes — dur­ing late night hours to “safely re­place five steel beams.” It said the con­trac­tor will work un­der the bridge deck dur­ing the day and on week­ends so that all the steel work is done by mid-July.

“This is es­sen­tial work that must be done to keep the bridge op­er­a­tional and safe,” SHA District En­gi­neer Greg Holsey said in the state­ment. “We’ve lis­tened to res­i­dents, busi­ness own­ers, emer­gency ser­vices, and elected of­fi­cials who asked us to find the best way to do the work with the least im­pact to traf­fic.”

The con­trac­tor be­gan work on the bridge in Jan­uary, with most of the work so far tak­ing place from barges with­out im­pact­ing traf­fic, SHA said.

The Ch­ester River Bridge Clos­ing Task Force, con­sist­ing of stake­hold­ers from Queen Anne’s and Kent coun­ties, has been meet­ing since Jan­uary 2015 to dis­cuss ways of min­i­miz­ing the im­pact the to­tal bridge clos­ing will have on both coun­ties.

PHOTO BY JACK SHAUM

One lane of the Ch­ester River Bridge will be closed only at night for as many as five weeks to re­place steel stringers un­der the draw span ac­cord­ing to the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Orig­i­nal plans had called for one lane clo­sures dur­ing day­light hours.

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