OCEAN CITY – The bicyclist struck by an SUV on the Harry Kelley Memorial Bridge last Sunday night died this week from the injuries sustained in the collision, bringing to light more questions on the need for an overhaul to the old drawbridge leading into the south end of the resort.
A bicyclist, whose name has not yet been released, was struck on the eastbound side of the Route 50 Bridge not far from Hooper’s Restaurant shortly after 10 p.m. on Sunday. According to police reports on the incident, the cyclist “darted in front of an SUV” driven by a man from Ocean Ridge, Fla., whose name has also not been released. The cyclist was transported to Peninsula Regional Medical Center in Salisbury and originally listed in serious condition, but later died of injuries related to the collision.
The fatality was the first of the summer season in the resort area and ironically came just days before three public workshops on the future of the bridge. State Highway Administration (SHA) officials last night hosted the first of three scheduled public workshops to discuss the alternatives for rehabilitating or replacing the bridge, with two more workshops scheduled for today.
Locals and visitors who frequently use the bridge have had close calls with bicyclists and pedestrians on the span. While it is uncertain if the fatal collision on Sunday night could have been prevented if any of the alternatives on the table had been in place, many of the options listed for the long-term project include expanded pathways for bikers and pedestrians and several call for retaining the existing span for traffic other than vehicles.
Alternative 2, for example, involves a rehabilitation of the existing span and includes the construction of a separate fishing pier, wider sidewalks for pedestrians and cyclists and improved aesthetics including better lighting.
Alternative 4 calls for a new 45-foot-high fixed-span bridge parallel to the existing bridge that would split at the entrance to Ocean City with northbound traffic connected to Baltimore Ave. and southbound traffic connecting around South 1st Street. This plan includes retaining the existing bridge for pedestrians, bikes and fishing.
Another option on the table, Alternative 5, includes a plan to construct a new bridge parallel just to the south of the existing span, while Alternative 5A calls for a new drawbridge to be constructed on the north side of the existing bridge. Each of those options call for retaining the existing span for pedestrian and bicycle traffic and fishing.