OCEAN CITY – State Highway Administration officials told the Mayor and City Council on Tuesday that the Route 50 Bridge project is on schedule, even though repaving has just commenced, and the target date for completion is the second week of June.
District Engineer Donnie Drewer of the SHA came before the council on Tuesday to give a report on not only the Route 50 bridge project, but also gave updates on a number of other minor ones within the city limits and outlined plans for work on the Route 90 Bridge next year.
“We had a stipulation in the contract that the contractor couldn’t start repaving until April 15,” said Drewer, “but we are on schedule to finish repaving the eastbound lane and the south side sidewalk by May 20, and then for the next three weeks after that, there will be intermittent lane closures on the westbound side while we repair the north side sidewalk.”
In essence, the bridge will have a newly paved deck and two new sidewalks by the targeted date of mid-June, according to Drewer, who stressed that any lane closures post May 20, would be during the week only.
“We aren’t going to work on weekends,” said Drewer, “but it is essential that we get these sidewalks done.”
Mayor Rick Meehan urged Drewer to clarify that lane closures would not create added strain on people traveling to Ocean City for the first few weeks of the “summer season.”
“I just want everyone to know in the business community and for those who use the bridge, that we are using good common sense when it comes to intermittent lane closures,” said Meehan.
In addition, the SHA is in the process of completing nine traffic signal projects, most of which are updating the signals to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, such as the 94th and 118th street projects, as well as installing cameras at the traffic signals of 12th, 15th and 17th streets.
Drewer announced that the originally planned repaving of 9th-26th streets in Ocean City has been postponed due to lack of funding and no date has been set on when the project may begin.
“It’s still in the program, but the program’s broke, so when we get more funding, we will be back to take care of it,” said Drewer.
As for the Route 90 bridge project, Drewer said that the SHA received $2.3 million in stimulus money and will use the entire sum of that grant to resurface the northern gateway into Ocean City next fall.
“We will be doing the project at night to inhibit the number of inconveniences and delays to motorists,” said Drewer. “We’ll have to have some traffic detours, but it won’t be during weekends, and we should be able to get in and get out and have it ready for the summer.”
One interesting aspect that came from Drewer’s presentation was the fact that the energy efficient LED lighting upgrades in West Ocean City were having an issue with snow getting stuck to them.
“To be honest with you, it seems that the lights not generating enough heat to melt the snow is only happening here,” said Drewer. “There were studies done and it’s not happening in Minnesota, but for whatever reason, it’s happening here.”
More than likely, according to Drewer, the lens of the LED lights got wet during rainfall, then when snow fell it stuck to the lights, and the below-freezing temperatures caused ice to form.
“We are going to have to keep an eye on them so we don’t run into a safety problem in the future,” said Drewer.
Meehan noted that the deadlines for the majority of the SHA’s projects were a little earlier than previous years.
“This is the first spring meeting we’ve had that the deadline wasn’t 5 p.m. on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend,” said Meehan. “I thank the SHA for moving some of the target dates forward and helping Ocean City get ready for the summer season.”