Bay Bridge overnight closings to continue

Schedule calls for regular shutdowns to last several more weeks

August 29, 2010|By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

The Maryland Transportation Authority is planning more overnight closings of the westbound span of the Bay Bridge than previously indicated, with shutdowns for its deck-replacement project continuing for the next several weeks.

The authority had said it would quickly wrap up its years-long schedule of regular weekday closings after the completion of pavement work on the $65 million project. However, it now says it will need several more weeks of late-night shutdowns for what it calls "demobilization" of the projects and other "punch list items."

Authority officials had indicated during the last week of May that they hoped to finish the last stage of the deck work — "grinding" the pavement to smoothness and "grooving" it for improved traction — before Memorial Day. They have since pushed the expected completion of those tasks back to early next week because of a mechanical breakdown.

The authority also said the overnight shutdowns — which require it to operate the two-lane eastbound bridge with one lane in each direction — will continue on an only slightly reduced schedule for at least the next two weeks to put the final touches on the project.

For next week, the authority said it will close the westbound span overnight Monday through Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., and on Thursday from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m.

The final stages of the deck-replacement project could extend into weekends.

"If needed, overnight closures may be scheduled some Saturdays to wrap up any remaining details," authority spokeswoman Kelly Melhem wrote in an e-mail. She said the Thursday night work had not been planned previously but would be added to the schedule for the next two weeks as the authority works to get most of the work done before the peak travel months of July and August.

There will also be midday lane closings of the westbound span for preservation work and inspections, as well as occasional closings of lanes of the eastbound span.

Melhem said one of those tasks — replacing lenses in the raised pavement markers on the westbound span — could involve limited overnight closings over the next two months.

"While we plan to minimize the number of overnight bridge closures as much as possible, the lens replacements are expected to occur during full bridge closures to help ensure the safety of our employees," she said.


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