Judge approves bridge construction

December 06, 1991|By Robert Lee

Construction on a controversial 80-foot-high bridge over the Severn River will begin within 10 days as a result of a federal judge's decision this week.

In his 34-page decision handed down Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Joseph C. Howard ruled that the state and federal highway administrations touched all the legal bases needed to plan a fixed, high-level span to replace the 12-foot-high Route 450 drawbridge into Annapolis.

The ruling threw out two suits that sought to stop construction, charging that the planned bridge should have meet the requirements for new construction, rather than for a replacement bridge.

Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer said that the $33 million contract to build the bridge has already been signed by the Cianbro Corp. and that he will issue a notice to proceed today.

Robert Desjardins, Cianbro executive vice president, said construction will begin within 10 days.

"I hope the opponents realize that they've had their day in court now, the litigation and discussion is behind us, and it's time to begin the business of building a bridge," Mr. Lighthizer said.

Citizens for the Scenic Severn River Bridge, which contends the planned bridge is too large for the city, is considering an appeal.

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