Route 18 bridge over Kent Narrows to close
GRASONVILLE — The Route 18 Waterman’s Memorial drawbridge over Kent Narrows will be closed to motor vehicle traffic from Feb. 27 to March 31 for repairs, said Charlie Gischlar, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration.
For boaters, the drawbridge will be in the open position during the day and sometimes at night, Gischlar said.
If the drawbridge must be closed, the highway administration will notify the U.S. Coast Guard which will notify boaters and a barge will be placed in front of the bridge to warn boaters, he added.
Workers will make general repairs to the part of the bridge that opens and on the approaches to it. Steel parts of the bridge will be replaced “in kind,” which means one part will replace another part.
Covington Machine and Welding, based in Annapolis, has been contracted by SHA to perform the work at an approximate cost of $550,000, Gishlar said.
Motorists who use the bridge can use Route 50/Route 301 and its exits to detour the closure, he said, adding, “We appreciative motorists patience during the repairs and this will extend the life of the bridge even longer.”
The Kent Narrows Development Foundation was recently briefed on the closure, said Gigi Windley, the group’s executive director.
Windley describes the repairs as “necessary” and performed at a favorable time of year for businesses. “This is the least visited time of year,” she said.
Kent Narrows has restaurants, hotels, marinas and dockside dining. Some of them are closed this time of year, she said.
The Foundation was created in May 1990 to facilitate the revitalization of the Kent Narrows, a 955acre waterfront area, which has been identified as a strategically important asset for the future of Queen Anne’s County.
As for the detour, Windley said, “The access won’t be cut off to any business. You can still get from point A to point B by taking Route 50.”
Tracy Schulz, one of the owners of Fisherman’s Inn and Crab Deck which is located near the bridge, said it was probably the best time to close the bridge because of the weather. “Things are slow, not as much traffic as usual,” he said.
Eric Hoffman, manager of the Hol- iday Inn Express which is near the bridge, said he doesn’t expect the closure to affect his business. People can use Exit 42 each way on Route 50 to detour the closure, he said.
He doesn’t think it will affect business because it didn’t when the same bridge was closed two years ago, he said.
In the spring of 2015, the same Route 18 bridge over Kent Narrows was closed to traffic for about seven weeks while it was cleaned and repainted. Workers discovered repairs were needed and they were scheduled for this year, said the State Highway Administration spokesman.