Build an­other bridge over the Patux­ent, and upriver from Solomons

The Enterprise - - Community Forum - Aure­lio Azpi­azu, Port Repub­lic

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.

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