Ch­ester River bridge paint­ing gets un­der­way

Record Observer - - News -

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The Mary­land Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion’s State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion will clean and paint the Mary­land 213 (Maple Av­enue) draw­bridge over Ch­ester River in Kent County be­gin­ning Wed­nes­day, Sept. 7. Work­ing pri­mar­ily from barges, crews will use overnight sin­gle-lane clo­sures be­tween 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. to clean and paint the draw span, bridge op­er­at­ing sys­tem and metal rail­ing across the en­tire bridge.

SHA will main­tain nor­mal two-way traf­fic across the bridge daily be­tween 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. This sched­ule is con­sis­tent with lane clo­sure hours for re­cent steel re­pairs to the draw­bridge, which worked well for trav­el­ers and res­i­dents. Crews may work day­time hours with­out lane clo­sures.

SHA’s con­trac­tor, Al­pha Paint­ing and Con­struc­tion of Baltimore, may need up to five nights for a full road­way clo­sure to clean and paint the draw­bridge end sec­tions; these clo­sures will be lim­ited to overnight hours, 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The nearly $2 mil­lion project will be com­plete mid-fall, weather per­mit­ting. The draw­bridge will re­main in the down po­si­tion (closed to marine traf­fic) un­til the cleaning and paint­ing is com­plete.

“Thanks to mem­bers of the Joint Kent-Queen Anne’s Task Force for their com­mit­ment and per­se­ver­ance,” said SHA Ad­min­is­tra­tor Gre­gory C. John­son, P.E. “They chal­lenged SHA to find a bet­ter so­lu­tion and sup­ported us as we worked with the con­trac­tor to de­velop sched­ules that would get the job done with min­i­mal im­pacts to travel and the lo­cal econ­omy. This has been a great team ef­fort.”

SHA, elected of­fi­cials and busi­ness and com­mu­nity lead­ers agreed to the re­vised work plan at the July meet­ing of the Joint Ken­tQueen Anne’s Task Force. SHA met with County tourism of­fi­cials and the con­trac­tor to es­tab­lish a work sched­ule that would re­spect late sum­mer/fall tourism events that are crit­i­cal eco­nomic driv­ers for Ch­ester­town and Kent County. The team fi­nal­ized sched­ule de­tails last week. As part of the agree­ment, Al­pha will sus­pend Fri­day and Satur­day op­er­a­tions for the River­fest (Sept. 23-24), Harry Pot­ter (Sept. 30-Oct.2) and Sul­tana Down­rig­ging (Oct. 28-30) events. SHA will keep the com­mu­nity in­formed if any emer­gency changes oc­cur.

Pre­vi­ous plans called for a full bridge clo­sure and de­tour for up to four weeks. SHA an­nounced in April it would post­pone the paint­ing un­til 2017. Ne­go­ti­a­tions con­tin­ued with Al­pha and lo­cal of­fi­cials through the sum­mer and yielded the cur­rent plan to paint the bridge this year with no day­time traf­fic im­pacts.

SHA’s re­pairs to steel por­tions of the bridge will con­clude this week. Orig­i­nally con­structed in 1930, the Mary­land 213 draw­bridge over the Ch­ester River car­ries an av­er­age of 14,000 ve­hi­cles each day.

PHOTO BY JACK SHAUM

Only night­time lane clo­sures are planned on the Ch­ester River Bridge dur­ing paint­ing, which is sched­uled to be­gin in Septem­ber.

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