State Says Route 50 Bridge Work Remains On Schedule

OCEAN CITY – With a good dose of unseasonably warm and
pleasant weather this week, work on the Route 50 bridge, closed to traffic
since Jan. 17, is moving along ahead of schedule and the span is expected
re-open sometime next Friday in time for the busy President’s Day weekend in
the resort area.

State Highway Administration (SHA) District Engineer
Donnie Drewer said yesterday the project has not hit any major stumbling blocks
and should be completed next week as planned. From the beginning, uncertainties
about the weather in January and February clouded the construction schedule,
but the weather has cooperated for the most part and the bridge is expected to
be completed and re-opened next Friday.

“We’re on schedule,” said Drewer yesterday. “If we don’t
blow a fuse or have some other major problem, it looks like we’ll have it ready
sometime next Friday.”

Drewer cautioned there was still much work to be done and
a sudden turn for the worse in the weather or other complications could set the
project back.

“I have to caution that there are still a lot of variables
and the finish date is still subject to change,” he said. “We make no
guarantees, but it looks like they’re bringing it in on time.”

The estimated Feb. 15 finish date is one week ahead of
what SHA predicted at the outset of the project. In fact, SHA’s Highway
Advisory System channel at 1610 AM this week still said the finish date for the
bridge repairs would be Feb. 22.

“For motorists traveling along U.S. 50 toward Ocean City,
please be advised the drawbridge will be closed until Feb. 22, 2008,” the
recorded message states over and over again. Drewer explained the highway
advisories are set at the beginning of a project and are not altered along the

Although the bridge is expected to re-open to traffic next
Friday, Drewer cautioned the project was far from finished.

“Even after we get it open, we’ll still have some lane
closures from time to time as we finish the project,” he said. “At least it
will be open and people will be able to go back and forth across the bridge.”