ASSATEAGUE—A major roadway in Assateague Island National Seashore will be closed indefinitely starting this weekend for a significant construction project, Parks officials announced this week.
Starting Sunday at 5 p.m., Old Ferry Landing Road will be closed for a construction project. The closure will be in effect from the intersection of Bayberry Drive and Old Ferry Landing Road and will affect vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. The area of Old Ferry Landing Road will also be closed to all boat and kayak landings.
The project includes replacing and raising the existing bulkhead at Old Ferry Landing Road. In addition, the boardwalks around the landing will be replaced and the connection to the marsh boardwalk will be rerouted and raised. Other minor work will be done in the parking lot area.
Assateague Island National Seashore officials said on Thursday the project is necessary because of the deteriorating condition of the bulkhead and boardwalk in the area of Old Ferry Landing Road and constant maintenance is needed, especially in the winter. After each winter storm, pieces of the boardwalk detach and end up in the bay or in the parking lot, requiring periodic closures and maintenance. At times, even a strong south wind can cause damage to the existing facilities in the area.
The project is being funded by park entrance and pass fees and is an example of visitors’ fee dollars at work. Roughly 80% of all revenue from Assateague Island National Seashore entrance fees or the local sales of various federal interagency passes stay right in the park to fund this type of visitor-related project. The other 20% goes into a fund which can be used by parks with no entrance fees or very low fee revenues.
Other examples of projects on the barrier island funded in the last year with entrance fee revenue include a new boardwalk at the Maryland Visitor Center, the renovation of a well on the island, the design of a new freshwater distribution system for the island, the reconstruction of the state line fence, and the replacement of the entrance sign at the visitor’s center.
Other projects slated for later this winter include major renovations to the Life of the Marsh and Life of the Forest trails to make them more accessible, safer and longer-lasting.
According to National Parks officials, it is difficult to predict how long Old Ferry Landing Road will be closed during the project as the construction is very weather-dependent. A rough estimate is the area will be closed at least into November, and possibly the end of the calendar year.