SHA: Over­pass work ahead of sched­ule

More than half fin­ished

Record Observer - - Front Page - By JACK SHAUM jshaum@kibay­times.com

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Con­struc­tion of the new over­pass and in­ter­change at Routes 301 and 304 is more than 50 per­cent com­plete and is ahead of sched­ule, ac­cord­ing to the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The nearly $50 mil­lion project is “mov­ing along ex­cep­tion­ally well,” said SHA spokesman Chuck Gis­chlar in an email. He said that while the con­struc­tion is ahead of sched­ule, “it’s hard to put an ex­act time frame” on when the long-sought over­pass and in­ter­change will be fin­ished.

“The date re­leased to the pub­lic was that the in­ter­change will be open to traf­fic by spring 2019. As it stands now, we are sig­nif­i­cantly ahead of sched­ule,” Gis­chlar said.

It has been a big job, with a con­sid­er­able amount of time ini­tially de­voted to site prepa­ra­tion, such as build­ing cul­verts for redi­rected streams in the area, ramps, and ap­proaches. At this point, the earthen el­e­vated bridge ap­proaches and abut­ments are in place. Con­struc­tion is un­der­way on the con­crete cen­ter bridge piers, lo­cated in the me­dian on Route 301, Gis­chlar said. There are four of them, with the last one hav­ing been poured on Tues­day, Aug. 17, he said.

“The next step is to in­stall the pier cap, or de­vice, that

will even­tu­ally hold the steel beams in place, and sub­se­quently the bridge deck,” Gis­chlar said.

Be­fore the bridge deck can be in­stalled, how­ever, soil fill has to be added to the earthen bridge ap­proaches to el­e­vate the high­way to meet the height of the fu­ture bridge. Then there will be a “quar­an­tine pe­riod to al­low for any set­tle­ment and for crews to to ad­just fill ac­cord­ingly,” Gis­chlar said, ad­ding that is stan­dard pro­ce­dure for new bridge projects.

“If all goes right and the weather holds up, we could be set­ting struc­tural steel in [the] win­ter,” he ex­plained. Once warm tem­per­a­tures re­turn in spring 2017 mo­torists will see “tremen­dous progress to­ward com­ple­tion,” he said.

An over­pass and in­ter­change at Routes 301 and 304 was Queen Anne’s County’s top trans­porta­tion pri­or­ity for many years and is be­ing funded by the Trans­porta­tion In­fra­struc­ture Act of 2013. The ad­vo­cacy group Sup­port Over­pass 4 Stu­dents formed af­ter Queen Anne’s County High School stu­dent Con­nor Rice died in an ac­ci­dent at what was then a grade-level in­ter­sec­tion, played a ma­jor role in help­ing bring the over­pass and in­ter­change to re­al­ity.

The project in­cludes a two-lane bridge car­ry­ing Route 304 over Route 301, two sin­gle­lane round­abouts on 304 on ei­ther side of the new bridge, and bi­cy­cle-com­pat­i­ble shoul­ders on the bridge to pro­vide safe passage for cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans.

Dur­ing the work, Route 304 has been closed west of Route 301, as is Tide­wa­ter Drive, Gis­chlar said. Traf­fic that would nor­mally use that por­tion of Route 304 is be­ing de­toured by way of Rolling Bridge Road.

SHA said at the time work be­gan that 21,720 ve­hi­cles on Route 301 and 5,220 ve­hi­cles on Route 304, use the in­ter­sec­tion daily. Nearly one-quar­ter of the Route 301 traf­fic is trucks, SHA said. Traf­fic is ex­pected to in­crease to 32,400 ve­hi­cles on Route 301 and 7,350 ve­hi­cles on Route 304 each day by 2030, ac­cord­ing to pro­jec­tions re­leased when the work started.

David A. Bram­ble Inc. of Chestertown was awarded the con­tract to build the over­pass and in­ter­change.

STATE HIGH­WAY AD­MIN­IS­TRA­TION PHOTO

Con­crete bridge piers that will sup­port the new over­pass at the Route 301-304 in­ter­change are in place and struc­tural steel work will likely be­gin this win­ter, the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion says.

STATE HIGH­WAY AD­MIN­IS­TRA­TION PHOTO

Con­crete bridge piers that will sup­port the new over­pass at the Route 301-304 in­ter­change are in place and struc­tural steel work will likely be­gin this win­ter, the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion says.

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