SNOW HILL – Consensus between Worcester County and Ocean City governments on the future Route 50 Bridge replacement has been reached, state officials said this week, allowing a June workshop on the bridge question to he eliminated.
Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) staff went before the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday morning to confirm that both bodies of elected officials agreed on the approach to the future replacement of the Route 50 Bridge and to cancel a June event meant to gather more public input on the favored option.
Previously, Ocean City elected officials selected alternative 4, a 45-foot tall fixed span bridge, an option that had the most impacts in the resort. Recently, the Ocean City Mayor and Council changed course, switching their allegiances to a drawbridge just north of the current bridge, with either a 30-foot or a recently created 18-foot clearance option.
The public has supported the 30-foot option in the past, according to SHA.
A June public information workshop scheduled has been canceled, with the agreement of the County Commissioners. The workshop was meant to seek more public consensus, but is no longer necessary, SHA said.
With funding for planning the eventual bridge replacement limited, canceling that workshop will save money, SHA staff said.
“What about the people who live in the area? They might like to have more input,” Commissioner Louise Gulyas said.
“They don’t care,” said Commission President Bud Church.
“I think they do,” Gulyas said.
Numerous public meetings have been held since the future bridge replacement project was first discussed a few years ago.
The Route 50 Bridge will not be replaced for 25 to 35 years.
The final design choice will be made by Neil Pedersen, SHA Administrator. If the county and city agree on an alternative, the state will likely select that one, SHA staff say.
“This is just a plan. Nothing will happen for years and years,” said Commissioner Linda Busick.
The public can weigh in again when the project is closer to construction, Busick said.
Future public information will be provided through a newsletter. The computer visualization illustrating the driving experience of the bridge options will be made available on the SHA website.
“That made a big difference, seeing that visualization,” said Commissioner Judy Boggs.