Surprise Project Causes Route 90 Backups; Contractor Failed To Alert SHA Ahead Of Time

OCEAN CITY — The unexpected back-ups reported on Route 90 throughout the morning on Wednesday were caused by the final phase of a paving project along the highway this spring.

The State Highway Administration (SHA) this spring hired a private contractor to repave a long section of Route 90 heading into Ocean City. The contractor returned on Wednesday to replace a loop detector in the roadway at St. Martin’s Neck Rd. A loop detector is essentially a sensor embedded in the road surface to indicate to the traffic signal at Route 90 and St. Martin’s Neck when motorists are stopped so the signal understands when to move to the next phase.

The project was expected to continue on Thursday, but as of late Wednesday afternoon the project was postponed until next week at the earliest due to materials not being available.

Ordinarily, SHA gets information out early to the public about road projects and possible delays, but SHA officials said on Wednesday they weren’t aware the private contractor was returning to replace the loop detector on Route 90 this week.

The issue is being addressed and in the meantime, the SHA maintenance shop is making sure there is appropriate signage in the area to warn motorists about possible delays and lane closures.

The city has reportedly been informed by SHA that as of Thursday morning the work will resume next week, but unlike this week notification will be made through the media as well as on area signage. Although exact date of the work was unclear as of deadline, SHA has told the city the remaining work will be completed at night and mid-week.

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.