Fish­ing Creek bridge project gets fin­ish date

Town hopes to pre­serve part of his­tor­i­cal struc­ture

The Calvert Recorder - - Front Page - By DANDAN ZOU dzou@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Dan­danEn­tNews

The Bay­side Road bridge re­place­ment project over Fish­ing Creek is ex­pected to fin­ish by March 2019, ac­cord­ing to rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Mary­land State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion who briefed about 20 res­i­dents gath­ered at Ch­e­sa­peake Beach Town Hall on Tues­day evening.

Con­structed in 1940, the bridge was show­ing signs of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion and was funded in 2014 as part of SHA’s bridge preser­va­tion and re­place­ment pro­gram.

In ad­di­tion to re­plac­ing the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing bridge, the $28 mil­lion project in­tends to im­prove the open­ing be­neath the bridge and in­crease the width of the bridge to in­clude two trav­el­ing lanes, a turn lane, bike lanes and side­walks.

The bridge will also be raised four feet higher to stand 14 feet high, pro­vid­ing a larger un­der-clear­ance for boat traf­fic un­der­neath the bridge, ac­cord­ing to SHA.

An­swer­ing a ques­tion from Mayor Pat “Ir­ish” Ma­honey, Mike Philip, the project’s en­gi­neer from SHA, said the ex­ist­ing bridge is ex­pected to be de­mol­ished next spring.

Both dates, how­ever, are sub­ject to change, de­pend­ing on the weather of the next two win­ters, Philip said.

Be­cause of its unique engi­neer­ing and ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures that in­clude or­na­men­tal rail­ings and con­crete balus­ters, the 77-year-old bridge is trea­sured for its his­tor­i­cal value.

“An in­for­ma­tion board will be devel­oped that ex­plains the history of the bridge cross­ing at this lo­ca­tion as well as the bridge,” said Hi­lary Gon­za­les, SHA’s dis­trict com­mu­nity li­ai­son, quot­ing the an­swers she re­ceived from the project de­signer. “This in­for­ma­tion sign will be lo­cated within the over­look area near the bridge.”

Town res­i­dent John Ba­con handed an SHA rep­re­sen­ta­tive a piece of pa­per with a pic­ture of the area of the bridge that he sug­gests to save and asked how to make it hap­pen.

“We would like to take a sec­tion of [the bridge] and move that to our [Ch­e­sa­peake Beach] Rail­way Trail” with a sign des­ig­nat­ing it as part of the his­tor­i­cal bridge, Ba­con said. “We want that par­tic­u­lar part of the bridge ... to help pre­serve the her­itage of this town.”

In re­sponse, Peter Keke, as­sis­tant dis­trict en­gi­neer of SHA’s dis­trict 5 con­struc­tion, said he is not able to an­swer Ba­con’s ques­tion at the mo­ment.

“We are not able at this level to make a de­ci­sion,” Keke said. But “we will get back to you.”

The 77-year-old bridge over Fish­ing Creek is trea­sured for its unique engi­neer­ing and ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures that in­clude or­na­men­tal rail­ings and con­crete balus­ters.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY DANDAN ZOU

The con­struc­tion of the Bay­side Road bridge project over Fish­ing Creek con­tin­ues in Ch­e­sa­peake Beach on Tues­day. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Mary­land State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion told res­i­dents Tues­day evening that the project is ex­pected to wrap up in the spring of 2019.

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