Pay attention to your travel routes and times during the upcoming days!
Starting Sunday, April 15 at 10 pm, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) will be performing maintenance on the Route 50 drawbridge.
Meaning that the bridge, known as the Harry W. Kelley Memorial Drawbridge, will close from 10 pm to 6 am throughout most of the following week.
Although deemed “safe and operable,” the bridge is in need of repairs for the busy upcoming seasons. A small crack was discovered in a single beam on the bridge during its routine maintenance evaluation, but it has not been released if any further damage has been discovered.
About 33,000 vehicles on average pass over this bridge each day, with significantly larger numbers throughout the spring and summer seasons, so the maintenance and safety upkeep of this bridge is a definite priority.
Last Friday, April 6th, the drawbridge closed from 10 pm that evening to 8 am the following day to work on necessary safety repairs, leaving the drawbridge open for marine traffic to pass through while directing motor vehicles to the Route 90 bridge.
At some point during the next few days, MDOT SHA crews will open the drawbridge for approximately 15 minutes in order to create a template that will act to assist in manufacturing the necessary sister plates prior to Sunday's closures. During these planned closures, traffic will be directed to travel across the Route 90 bridge.
State Highway Administration Spokesman Charlie Gischlar says this is a “proactive repair” that will add service life to the bridge, and that the crews working on the bridge will be done no later than 6 am each day, minimizing delays or traffic inconveniences.
With all of the new construction being done by MDOT SHA in preparation for the upcoming summer months, Ocean City is becoming much safer for residents and guests alike. To that end, if traveling the bridge is a part of your regular commute during the upcoming weeks, definitely plan ahead to incorporate a little extra driving time.
Drive safe everyone!