OCEAN CITY — State Highway Administration (SHA) officials announced this week the final phase of the ongoing Route 90 guardrail replacement project, which has caused overnight lane closures for the last two months, is nearing the finish line and is expected to be completed next week.
The final phase includes removing and replacing all existing guardrails along the westbound side of Route 90 between Route 589 and Route 113.
The final stretch is expected to be completed over the course of three days next week, from Tuesday, Jan. 3 through Thursday, Jan. 5. The work will take place each night from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m.
During work hours in the final phase, all eastbound traffic along Route 90 heading into Ocean City will not be affected. However, westbound Route 90 will be closed to traffic during the nighttime work hours over the final three days of the project.
As a result, all westbound traffic along Coastal Highway hoping to utilize Route 90 will be detoured to Route 50 during the hours of the lane closures.
Signage will be posted along Coastal Highway, as well as Route 113, Route 589, Route 50 and St. Martin’s Neck Rd. advising motorists of the lane closures.
SHA crews and the contractor, L.S. Lee, Inc. of York, Pa., will continue to use variable message signs, arrow panels, traffic cones and barrels to advise motorists of the single-lane closures during the final stretch of the project.
SHA officials announced the two-phase project in October and the Route 90 spans have been subject to single-lane closures or complete closures for the last two months or so.
The first phase included replacing the guardrails on Route 90 between Route 113 and Route 589, while the second phase included the stretch between Route 589 and Coastal Highway. Each week from Sunday through Thursday between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., the eastbound lanes of Route 90 were partially closed or completely closed, forcing motorists attempting to enter the resort to detour around Route 50 or consider a northern route through Delaware.
SHA District Engineer Donnie Drewer said in October the guardrail replacement project had been on the books for about 15 years and the time was right to undertake it. Drewer said an inspection of the guardrails on Route 90 could have expedited the project somewhat.
The guardrail replacement is the latest in a series of major undertakings along Route 90. Local residents will recall the bridge between Isle of Wight and Ocean City was closed for much of the winter beginning in October 2009 after a routine inspection revealed an 85-foot section of the span had deteriorated to the point it was unsafe for vehicles over 6,000 pounds to cross.