Chesapeake Bay Bridge Construction Moves Ahead

April 29, 2024
Officials taking Key Bridge collapse into consideration for plans

Work to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is set to move into phase one of eastbound deck replacement this month. As work gets underway, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) are taking specific structural elements into consideration following the tragic collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

The Bay bridge will tie a third span into Route 50 on both sides of the bay. Including feeder roads, it would stretch 22 miles, from an area west of the Severn River Bridge in Anne Arundel County to the U.S. 50/Route 301 split in Queen Anne’s County on the Eastern Shore.

MDTA says Construction will take place at night, utilizing off-peak lane closures and operating two-way traffic on the westbound span.

Crews will replace at least one section of decking per night, installing joint connection grates to safely reopen eastbound travel lanes by morning, according to MDTA.

Safety and structural sufficiency are top of mind following the collapse of the Bay Bridge, prompting officials to take specific considerations.

"We’re working on looking at that, in terms of the safety and the protection of the piers," said Joe McAndrew, Maryland Assistant Transportation secretary, in a statement.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said if it finds any urgent safety recommendations that need to be made following the Key Bridge collapse, it will do so immediately. If and when the NTSB makes those recommendations, McAndrew says state officials will be listening closely.

"At the end of the day, it is safe for folks to continue to travel across it. We are going to be working with our partners at the federal level that are doing an investigation of what happened at the Key Bridge," he said. "But it is safe and we would encourage people to go and enjoy the Eastern Shore as much as possible."

Dolphins, or protective barriers that could redirect a ship from hitting the support piers of a bridge, are another consideration. In other parts of the country, the protections are becoming much more common, especially with newer bridges. In contrast, the Bay Bridge is now more than 70 years old. It has fenders to protect piers, but no dolphins.

Deck replacement is set to commence this month and is expected to be completed in Spring 2025, weather permitting.


 Source: WBOC News, NBC Washington

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