OCEAN CITY — State Highway Administration (SHA) officials late Thursday said the temporary repair project on the draw span portion of the Route 50 Bridge has been completed.
Earlier this week, SHA officials announced repairs were required to the temporary fix on the Route 50 Bridge’s draw span that failed back on July 26, causing the bridge to be stuck in the open position for about five hours on a busy mid-summer Saturday afternoon. In the wake of the failure of the bridge part that impacts the opening and closing of the draw span, SHA’s independent contractor carried out a temporary fix that was expected to hold up for the remainder of the summer until a larger repair project could be undertaken during the offseason.
However, SHA officials announced early this week the contractor would be returning on Wednesday to essentially conduct further repairs, resulting in a one-lane closure on the eastbound side from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. When the work wasn’t completed on Wednesday, SHA officials announced the same lane closure would be in effect Thursday.
By mid-morning, traffic was backing up into West Ocean City as vehicles entering Ocean City bottlenecked at the lane closure. Some motorists reported backups as far as Keyser Point Rd. in West Ocean City, while other motorists still smarting from the massive backups back on July 26, reported a 45-minute trip time across the bridge into Ocean City on Thursday afternoon.
SHA officials said late Thursday afternoon the repair work undertaken on Wednesday and Thursday had been completed and there were no more planned closures until the major repair project is undertaken in October.
Shortly after 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 26, the Route 50 drawbridge got stuck in the up position while it was being closed following a routine opening. The malfunctioning bridge almost immediately caused heavy resort traffic on a busy Saturday afternoon in late July to back up along Routes 50, 90, 589, 113 and 54 as motorists attempted to find alternative routes into Ocean City, essentially causing gridlock across much of northern Worcester County.
SHA’s private-sector engineering firm Covington, which routinely maintains and inspects the bridge, came to the scene to analyze the problem, which was determined to be a crack in one of the four mounts on the bridge’s mechanical system that allows the span to be raised and lowered.