Thank you for your patience during the Forum downtime while we upgraded the software. Welcome back and see this thread for some new features and other changes to the forum.

Main Menu

Ocean City, Maryland

Started by Alex, July 24, 2009, 12:05:54 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

Officials reluctantly approve replacing OC bridge

SNOW HILL, Md. -- A plan that would replace the U.S. 50 bridge into Ocean City, Md., with a new parallel draw span has been accepted by Worcester County commissioners.

Their reluctant approval comes two months after telling Maryland's State Highway Administration officials to scrap loftier plans and simply restore the existing bridge.

The commissioners were told this week that even with continued maintenance, a new span needs to be built.

"Last time we told you to just fix the damn bridge; that's what our bottom line was," said Commissioner Judy Boggs. "But now you are saying now you can't do that."

According to SHA Project Manager Jamaica Kennon, the Harry W. Kelley Memorial Bridge will only last another 20-25 years before becoming functionally obsolete.

"There is going to come a point when, economically, it won't be feasible to maintain it anymore," Kennon said.

Of the three possible options, the commissioners gave their blessing to what is known as "Alternative 5A" -- a $300 million plan that calls for a 30-foot tall parallel draw span built to the north of the existing bridge.

Alternative 5A would displace 13 properties, and at 30 feet in height the draw span would not have to open as regularly as the existing 15-foot-tall bridge.

"It has the least impact to the downtown area," said Commission President Louise Gulyas.

The state and the majority of the Ocean City Town Council, however, favor a $400 million, 45-foot-tall, fly-over span that would route traffic directly onto Baltimore and Philadelphia avenues, displacing 45 properties in the process.

The commissioners also asked that most of the old bridge be removed, leaving some on the west side of the Isle of Wight Bay for a fishing pier.

"It would be a great facility to use for fishing," Commissioner Bud Church said.

The SHA will make a decision this summer on which plan it will advance. The project has been funded through the planning stage, but state officials could not say when the money would be available for construction.

Getting the money, they said, could take 20 years to do anyway.

While the commissioners gave their blessing to one of the state plans, many said they would prefer rehabilitating the existing span.

"I really wish you would just fix the damn bridge," Gulyas said.


"Only 20-25 years before it becomes functionally obsolete?"  WHAT THE FUCK!  Replace the damn bridge in 20 years.  Why spend all this money now unnecessarily?  We have bridges in NJ that became functionally obsolete 20-25 years AGO.  THOSE are the ones that money should be going to.  If MD doesn't have any more of those, they shouldn't get any Federal funding while other states can fix their bridge issues.


Maryland has plenty of bridges that are eligible for Federal bridge funding.  This particular situation is simply an example of some locals who don't want the hassle that building a new bridge would cause.  Note the disconnect between the Worcester County commissioners and officials in Ocean City.


This particular situation, if you can't tell, pisses me off like few others.


Weight limit lowered on bridge into Ocean City

QuoteEffective immediately, all vehicles with a collective weight of 6,000 pounds or greater will not have access to the Md. 90 bridge between Coastal Highway and the Isle of Wight, and will be directed to alternate routes. SHA says this weight is equivalent to a small, unloaded pickup truck not pulling a trailer. All common sedans meet the allowable weight criteria.

Larger deliveries, trucks, school buses and other overweight vehicles will have to go around using the U.S. 50 bridge, or across Del. 54 through Delaware.


Md. 90 bridge to close for 2 months starting Thursday

QuoteThe State Highway Administration will close the Md. 90 bridge into Ocean City for a two-month repair job starting Thursday at 10 a.m

SHA said crews will remove an 85-foot section of bridge over the navigational channel, fabricate and set new steel replacement beams, pour a new concrete bridge deck on the newly placed beams, stripe the new pavement and install new raised pavement markers.


Delmarva Peninsula: Chincoteague bridge to open next week

QuoteA new, nearly mile-long bridge over Black Narrows and Lewis Creek Channel is set to open to traffic April 2 after decades of planning and a $70 million construction project that has lasted more than three years.


Quote from: AARoads on March 26, 2010, 12:10:20 PM
Delmarva Peninsula: Chincoteague bridge to open next week

Just finalized reservations for vacation in Chincoteague for July a couple of weeks ago, and was wondering what the status of that bridge was.

I don't have opinions anymore. All I know is that no one is better than anyone else, and everyone is the best at everything


Md. decides on new U.S. 50 drawbridge design

QuoteOCEAN CITY, Md. – Maryland highway officials have decided to build a new drawbridge to replace the U.S. 50 bridge into Ocean City.

Officials say the plan they selected for the bridge will cause the least disruption of existing property. It's now part of the state's long-term transportation plan - but construction won't be starting anytime soon.

SHA spokesman Charles Gischlar says there's no money for the new bridge in Maryland's six-year spending plan. SHA planning director Greg Slater says a replacement bridge likely won't be completed for 20 to 25 years.

The existing drawbridge is believed to be in good shape. It was completed in 1942 but received a new deck several years ago.

The Federal Highway Administration has to sign off on the project for federal funds to be spent.


Design picked for US 50 bridge

New span won't be built for two decades

QuoteOCEAN CITY -- Maryland state officials have selected a bridge design that will, in about 20 to 25 years, replace the existing U.S. 50 bridge into downtown Ocean City.

The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to replace the 68-year-old Harry W. Kelley Memorial Bridge with another drawbridge. It will be constructed immediately north of the current span. Construction isn't likely to begin for at least 20 years, the agency said.

"What we're trying to do is build this bridge in accordance with a community feel, and have the bridge be a part of it," said highway administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar. "It'll be a glorious gateway into downtown Ocean City. It will alleviate some of the traffic. But again, this is something that's far in the future."

The project at this time has not been funded for right-of-way acquisition, design or construction. The design process may not begin for another 15 years, Gischlar said. But highway administration officials now say they prefer a new bridge that will require less redesigning of downtown streets than some other options.

One option, which the highway administration did not pick, would build a taller, fixed-span bridge and take up more room with ramps and overpasses, connecting to Baltimore Avenue a block or so farther north than the current bridge.

There are no precise cost estimates available, though highway planners presented this option as costing around $300 million. Though this option was presented as the one that would affect the fewest properties, even that figure can't be determined because it's just too far into the future, Gischlar said.

"You have to realize, since that bridge was built in 1942, someday it's going to outlive its useful life, and we will need to replace it," he said. "As an agency, it's our responsibility to start to identify bridges that someday will need to be replaced."

The new bridge will be 30 feet above the water, and so will need to raise its span less frequently than the existing bridge, which has just 18 feet of clearance.

That means 75 percent to 80 percent of all boat  traffic will be able to pass beneath the bridge without the drawbridge needing to be raised, thus reducing traffic backups. Less congestion means fewer fender-benders, too, Gischlar said.

The process of picking a replacement started about three years ago, when highway officials realized the Kelley Bridge would become functionally obsolete based on its age and the projected increase in tourist traffic.

Other options rejected by City Council included a 45-foot-tall bridge, which would have sprawled across downtown and displaced dozens of residents and businesses, and an 18-foot-high bridge that essentially would have been a modern take on the existing span.

The new bridge will have four lanes of traffic, just like the current one, but it will feature much wider shoulders and a wide concrete median. It also will have a wider sidewalk.

The Kelley Bridge won't be demolished. The drawspan will be removed, and the ends of the bridge will remain standing as fishing piers.

Project plans next will be presented to the Federal Highway Administration for approval and funding. Gischlar said bridges are usually funded with 80 percent federal dollars, and the rest from the state.

In the meantime, he said, the existing bridge is doing just fine. The highway administration inspects it every two years and makes improvements as needed. The decking was replaced in the last three years.

"It's not structurally deficient. It's safe. That bridge has a lot of life left in it," he said. "It's a pain when the drawbridge goes up, and traffic gets backed up to [Md.] 611, yes, but it's serving its purpose of getting people to and from Ocean City."


If you're not going to build for 20 years, why bother designing? The design will probably end up being obsolete by then...
uncontrollable freak sardine salad chef

Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.