Two Pines Bridges Require Significant Repairs

Two Pines Bridges Require Significant Repairs
Two Pines

BERLIN – Ocean Pines officials are evaluating repair and replacement options for two of the community’s bridges.

Following a 2014 report that revealed the bridge on Ocean Parkway and the bridge on Clubhouse Drive each had a Bridge Sufficiency Rating (BSR) below 50, options are being explored.

“We didn’t receive the reports until June of this year,” Ocean Pines Association General Manager Bob Thompson said. “When we received them we saw that BSR ratings were what they were we started to step up our approach.”

The reports identified repairs that should be made to both bridges, each of which are more than four decades old. Thompson told the Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors Thursday that he was working with a local engineering firm to develop a Request for Proposals (RFP) to find a company to do the work.

Thompson said the repairs, which would focus on the superstructure (or top portion) of the bridges, were expected to cost $250,000 per bridge.

“The goal is to make enough improvement to bring the BSR higher,” Thompson said.

Though the work is expected to bring the bridge ratings back above 50, Thompson says they will still need to be replaced in the future. Because of that, his staff has started looking at replacement options. He told board members new bridges could be timber, like the existing bridges, precast concrete, like those seen on many state roads, or precast concrete with an arch. Depending on what they’re built with, each new bridge could cost anywhere from $640,000 to $670,000.

When asked where that money would come from, Thompson said the bridges could be funded in a variety of ways. The association could cover the entire cost or could work with Worcester County to acquire state or federal funding.

“The funding process the county uses is they apply for state funds,” Thompson said. “When they’re granted to the county, the county decides how and where to apply those funds throughout the county.”

The association could hope for funding that way, he said, or could work with the county to pursue federal funds.

In the meantime, he said he was moving ahead with plans for the immediate bride repairs, which will be funded entirely by the association.

Board member Dave Stevens asked whether the work would require either bridge to be closed. Thompson said the association wouldn’t know what closures would need to be made until bids for the work were collected.

“Until we put it out there we don’t know,” he said. “We have access challenges when we close either of the bridges.”