Machine evens surface of Morgan Run bridge

June 10, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

A grinder with diamond teeth has made the crossing smoother for the 10,000 motorists who use the Route 32 bridge over Morgan Run every day.

For two days last week, State Highway Administration crews used the milling machine to plane the concrete surface of the 450-foot span. The machine ground down bumps and eliminated dips, which had been the subject of motorists' complaints for several months.

"The machine can be controlled without degrading the concrete deck of the bridge," said Robert L. Fisher, SHA assistant district engineer for construction.

The job added another $20,000 to the original $2.8 million project, which the state contracted to Richard F. Kline Co. of Frederick.

"It was a really rocky ride before," said Brian Haight, who uses the bridge several times a day on his commute from Gamber to Sykesville. "Now, it is much better, a wonderful improvement."

The ride was bumpy, but safe, said Mr. Fisher from his office in Frederick.

"The structural integrity of the bridge was not affected," he said.

Mr. Fisher attributed the problems to "deflections in the floor beams, which we didn't consider would take place. It was a matter of physics and not an error."

Motorists experienced only brief delays last week -- nothing compared with the circuitous detours they took as extensive repairs closed the bridge for eight months in 1993.

Within weeks of the reopening on Dec. 21, 1993, the SHA bridge department found itself "re-evaluating" the job, said project coordinator Eric Eckhardt.

"It didn't give as smooth a ride as we like to get," he said.

The SHA district office in Frederick received a few phone calls and read several "nasty" letters in local newspapers from residents complaining about the bumpy ride.

"We wanted to respond to complaints," said Mr. Fisher.

Although painters will be working on the bridge for a few more weeks, all other repairs are complete.

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