Annapolis set to open new span over Weems Creek

November 17, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Finally, there is silence.

Eighteen months of rumbling, drilling, and the thwacking of a 40-ton hammer ramming steel pilings into the mud beneath Weems Creek has ended.

The new Weems Creek Bridge will open tomorrow.

After several delays in the $5.8 million project to replace the deteriorating original, State Highway Administration workers were getting tired of promising residents that the work would be finished quickly.

Like its 1929 predecessor, the new bridge has a center span that swings open to allow boats to pass. It is one of only three such bridges in Maryland. Unlike the original, which creaked and groaned when it opened, this hydraulic bridge will hum quietly.

The old bridge's corroded pilings, rusted metal supports and crumbling concrete decks quivered when heavy vehicles crossed it.

In June 1996, SHA engineers and construction workers started demolishing the structure. The new bridge was to open in April, but construction crews hit snags.

First, workers discovered concrete in what they thought would be a hollow bridge pier. That delayed work several months. Winter came, further slowing construction.

Crews then discovered the creek bed was too soft for the pilings they had planned to use. They had to order longer steel pilings and other new material.

During all this, residents on either side of the bridge waited patiently. With their convenient route into and out of Annapolis closed, they went the long way around, two miles over busy Rowe Boulevard instead of a half-mile over quiet Ridgely Avenue to the West Annapolis shopping center.

Pub Date: 11/17/97

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