Route 50 Bridge Repair Project Completed

OCEAN CITY — State Highway Administration (SHA) crews this week put the finishing touches on a major repair project on the Route 50 bridge in an effort to avoid a repeat of last summer’s major breakdown.

“The crews are finalizing the repairs stemming from the project last month to ensure the smooth operation of the draw span,” said SHA Public Information Officer Charlie Gischlar this week.

Around 3 p.m. last 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 the dominoes toppled backward as motorists attempted to find alternative routes into the resort, essentially causing gridlock across much of northern Worcester County.

The bridge remained stuck in the open position for about five hours until the decision was made to hand-crank the bridge into the closed position to begin allowing vehicles to access the bridge in and out of the resort. SHA’s engineers determined the problem was caused by a cracked mount on the drawbridge’s drive shaft that would not allow the span to be lowered completely. The bridge was fixed temporarily and worked throughout the rest of the summer before the long-term fix that wrapped up this week.

In other news related to the bridges heading into and out of Ocean City, SHA crews on Monday will begin a significant milling and repaving project on Route 90 between the St. Martin’s River Bridge and the Assawoman Bay Bridge. The resurfacing work was to start earlier this week but was delayed by weather. It will now begin on Monday and is expected to be completed by next Thursday. The work will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

During the project, there will be single-lane closures guided by flaggers. SHA will use flaggers, variable message signs, cones, arrow panels and barrels to guide motorists through the work zone and some delays are expected. The intent is to improve safety and overall pavement conditions on Route 90 in both directions. The $225,000 repaving project will be performed by American Infrastructure MD, Inc. of Fallston.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.