Bridge lane closings will happen at night
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.
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.