Ocean Pines Bridge Work Estimated At $377K

BERLIN – Long awaited bridge repairs in Ocean Pines are expected to begin this summer, as officials selected a contractor last week.

The Ocean Pines Association Board of Directors agreed to award a contract to Murtech Inc. for the repair of the Ocean Parkway and Clubhouse Drive bridges.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to get started on the necessary work to our bridges,” said Bob Thompson, the association’s general manager.

Officials in the Pines began investigating bridge repair options in the fall after reports revealed that both the bridge on Ocean Parkway and the bridge on Clubhouse Drive had bridge sufficiency ratings (BSR) below 50 and were in need of immediate repair. Both structures are more than 40 years old.

Though board members have discussed the possibility of replacing the bridges entirely, the decision was made to move ahead with repairs now.

“We’re addressing the immediate needs as identified in the report with the expectation that the work is extensive enough to extend the life of the bridge for an extended period of time,” Thompson said this week.

After considering two bids, one for $475,000 and one for $377,417, the board agreed to hire low bidder Murtech Inc. for the project.

According to Thompson, who says the work should begin in July, the contractor will tackle the Clubhouse Drive bridge first. He says officials won’t know how long the work will take until workers begin the project and get a better grasp of the condition of the structures.

“We won’t know until we get in there,” he said.

Murtech Inc. will handle one side of the bridge at a time so that traffic can continue to go across. While the community will be at its busiest in July, Thompson said he was more concerned with getting the repairs done to ensure the bridges remained safe than with disrupting traffic.

“Summer is never great but we need to get the work accomplished,” he said.

The bridges became a hot topic in Ocean Pines last summer as Slobodan Trendic, then a candidate for the board of directors, brought attention to safety reports that called for the replacement of the bridges as early as 2011.

At the time, board members said they weren’t sure why the repairs hadn’t been made. Thompson spent the ensuing months working with county officials and DBF Engineering to identify the needed repairs and put together a request for proposals.

The board voted unanimously to move ahead with the work and award a contract to Murtech Inc. at its April 28 meeting.