Roads close for bridge reconstruction

Clifton Ave. project forces motorists to find new routes

February 10, 1999|By Jennifer Sullivan | Jennifer Sullivan,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Tara Collier, 18, has lived in the same West Baltimore house for 10 years, but she now fears she'll have trouble finding her way home.

The Polytechnic Institute senior said she has taken the same route to the gym, to work, to school and everywhere else for her entire driving career. But because of a complete reconstruction of the Clifton Avenue Bridge, she will have to find new ways to get around.

Demolition of the 72-year-old bridge, which is about 500 feet from the Collier home, began Monday, and will keep the road closed for 17 months.

The Department of Public Works also closed Windsor Mill Road beneath the bridge, to avoid having debris fall on motorists and pedestrians.

On a new route Monday, the construction added 10 minutes to Collier's drive home from school.

Because of the bridge closure, the roughly 14,000 motorists who travel on Windsor Mill Road daily should expect delays for the next four months.

Kurt Kocher, spokesman for the city Department of Public Works, said the 40-foot-wide, two-lane concrete arch bridge will be replaced with a more modern version. He said the reconstruction is part of the city's bridge program.

"Over the last five years we've done work on about a dozen bridges," he said.

Within the next few years, Kocher said he expects most of Baltimore's bridges to exceed national standards.

Corman Construction is undertaking the $3 million bridge project. Kocher said the bridge will be destroyed "in a manual fashion," meaning construction workers will use jackhammers instead of explosives.

Orange detour signs have been posted for the past month and a half along Windsor Mill Road and Clifton Avenue, directing drivers to take Garrison Boulevard and Forest Park Avenue.

Kocher said Public Works also is urging drivers to take Liberty Heights Avenue or U.S. 40.

To help drivers with the new routes, traffic officers were posted at Hilton Parkway and North Avenue, Garrison Boulevard and Forest Park Avenue and Gwynns Falls Parkway and Garrison Boulevard during Monday's rush hours and yesterday's morning rush hour.

Pub Date: 2/10/99

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