Build another bridge over the Patuxent, and upriver from Solomons
Earlier this year, I sent a letter in which I said why we needed another bridge across the Patuxent River and that it should be built somewhere other than where the high arch bridge is now at Solomons.
I am writing again to summarize the reasons and perhaps stir more active comment. Wouldn’t a response from our leaders be interesting, or do they simply want to ensure that benefits accrue to previously identified interest?
This topic should be of even more interest given the now announced effort from the state to actively seek another Chesapeake bridge crossing as well. I happen to oppose this through the previously intended/suggested location (around Cove Point) because Southern Maryland simply does not have the road infrastructure nor the way to provide it without a very large expenditure. Such a choice would also create havoc with traffic and other problems akin to those experienced around Annapolis nearly every weekend and at other times as well.
As to the Patuxent River bridge:
Leave the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge alone and, when the new bridge is completed, impose a weight restriction on loads crossing it to extend its life.
Also, select a location approximately two to five miles upriver from Solomons where land acquisition is cheaper, there is less impact on existing infrastructure and the Patuxent is shallower at the suggested location. That would make the bridge less expensive to build and maintain. Build the bridge “at grade” with a draw span for the few vessels transiting north of Solomons that would require the clearance.
Build adequate fourlane roads to connect to it on both sides with adequate interchanges to accommodate traffic volumes. Traffic coming down Route 2/4 does not always want to stop in Solomons.
Those who do need to go to Solomons can still use the Johnson bridge or turn south from the new bridge. The reverse is true for traffic toward St. Mary’s and Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Existing four-lane roads (Route 2/4 and Route 235) on either side are much more adequate to handle this volume than the two-lane section of Route 4 between Solomons and the current Route 235 junction in California.
The added bridge would also offer an additional exit from Calvert for the possibility of a required mass evacuation.
What are the current costs of idling vehicles as a result of blockages and other incidences on the bridge? For those that think about the environment, idling vehicles are much greater polluters than vehicles at speed.