Major Route 50 Bridge Repairs To Cost $65K; Project Planned For Next Month

The tall ship El Galeon is pictured squeezing through the Route 50 Bridge last summer. Photo by Chris Mizuark

OCEAN CITY — State Highway Administration (SHA) officials announced on Wednesday the long-term fix of the drawbridge’s mechanical system is scheduled to begin next Wednesday, weather permitting.

SHA’s contracted engineers made a temporary repair of the failed mechanical system that caused the span to be stuck in the open position for about five hours last July 26 and planned a major repair job to prevent it from happening again. That project will start next Wednesday.

“SHA temporarily repaired the bridge after last summer’s malfunction of the draw span,” said District Engineer Donnie Drewer this week. “The work beginning now is a permanent fix to avoid another similar occurrence.”

Beginning next Wednesday, SHA crews will close a single right lane of the bridge on the eastbound side from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day with occasional closures of the single right lane for an entire 24 hours. The work should be completed by the end of March, weather permitting.

SHA will not work on the bridge from March 13 to March 15 during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade weekend when traffic volumes will be higher. Although motorists will be able to use the left eastbound lane during the life of the project, drivers may want to consider using Route 90 as an alternate route.
“We scheduled the project during the less-traveled off-season to minimize impacts to travelers,” said Drewer this week. “As we move forward, we appreciate the residents’ and visitors’ patience during the project.”

Around 3 p.m. last Saturday, July 26, the drawbridge got stuck in the up position following a routine opening and closing. The malfunctioning bridge almost immediately caused heavy resort traffic on a busy Saturday afternoon in late July to back up along Route 50 and alternate routes.

The bridge over Sinepuxent Bay, built in 1942, has approximately 1,600 opening annually. SHA’s contractor for the $65,000 repair is Covington Machine and Welding of Annapolis

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