Fishing Creek bridge project gets finish date
Town hopes to preserve part of historical structure
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.
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.