A year late, Turkey Point Bridge opens

December 15, 1993|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

The Turkey Point Bridge, linking Turkey Point Island with Mayo, is to open today, a year behind schedule and 100 percent over budget -- provided all goes as planned.

The bridge, replacing a 40-year-old relic, was nearly finished last winter when engineers noticed gaps in the bulkhead that supports the bridge approach from the mainland side.

Repairs doubled the cost of the project from $1.4 million to $2.8 million and took nearly a year.

The county is negotiating with KCI Technology of Baltimore, the bridge designer, for reimbursement for some of the cost overrun. The federal government was to have paid 80 percent of the cost of the bridge, but it is unclear how much of the overrun the federal government will pay, said Lisa Ritter, spokeswoman for Anne Arundel's Department of Land Use and Environment.

"We're going to need to evaluate each of the change orders and determine why they were needed," she said. "In some cases, they may have been because of design problems, and in other cases they may have ben because the construction situation was different than anticipated."

The county has paid $850,000 of the additional changes.

The Ms. Ritter said the bridge, which provides the 145 residents on the island with their only land link to the mainland, would open today, weather permitting.

About five years ago, the old bridge grew dangerously weak and its capacity was reduced from 10 tons to 8 tons.

The reduction in weight meant changes for the island's residents.

The Department of Education had to send mini-buses to transport the children to their schools. Loaded fuel and garbage trucks were not permitted to cross to the island.

The county's Fire Department had to devise a plan to provide fire service to the island that called for one fire truck to creep over the bridge and inspect the scene while other trucks waited on the other side.

"We've been lucky we haven't had to cross the bridge with more than one unit," said Fire Department spokesman J. Gary Sheckells.

Sandy Zimmerman, manager of the Turkey Point Marina, which lies on the island nearly at the foot of bridge, said her company had to pay extra for garbage collection and gasoline deliveries because smaller trucks were needed.

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