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MD Bridge Closing for Rehab

Another one of the region's bridges is scheduled to undergo a rehabilitation project this summer. The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to shut down the Central Avenue bridge over the Patuxent River on Monday for a $3 million project scheduled to last until late fall.

The 72-year-old, two-lane steel truss bridge on the Prince George's-Anne Arundel line carries nearly 11,000 vehicles daily. Though it lacks the scale of the Douglass and Legion bridges, the rehab project caused some of the same concerns among the commuters who use it on their way toward Washington and now will have to use detours. Some in the Davidsonville area would have prefered that the state find a way to work only at night or keep the bridge partly open to traffic during rush periods.

But the state figured it was best to get in, get it done and get out of a project that should extend the bridge's life by 40 years. Work will continue seven days a week, except for holidays, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

[After the collapse of the interstate bridge in Minnesota on Wednesday night, our region's highway officials stressed that local bridges are safe and well-maintained, but they also said that hundreds have deteriorated significantly and need expensive fixes. The maintenance projects create hardships for travelers, as illustrated by our discussions here concerning work on the Wilson, Legion, Douglass, Grosvenor Lane, Nice and Chesapeake Bay bridges. But the alternatives are unsatisfactory. ]

SHA says the workers will be fixing the Central Avenue bridge's structural cross-members under the bridge deck, replacing the concrete deck and cleaning and painting structural steel, installing a new guardrail and resurfacing the approaches to the bridge.

The designated detour for the Central Avenue bridge will take drivers on Routes 214, 424, 50 301. Watch for traffic signs, drums and variable message boards along the way. To create gaps in the traffic along the detour route and allow drivers to enter from the side streets, the highway administration has set up a temporary traffic signal at the Route 424/Governors Bridge Road intersection. It also created turn lanes at that intersection.

For the sake of the nearby businesses, SHA is making signs with their logos that will remind people that the businesses remain open during the project. You can sign up by e-mail to receive an electronic version of the monthly flyers that will provide progress report. Send your e-mail address to the SHA at communications@sha.state.md.us.

If you have any questions or comments about the project, you can call SHA's District 5 Office at 800-331-5603.

By Robert Thomson  |  August 3, 2007; 5:26 AM ET
Categories:  Construction  
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