Traffic lanes along the U.S. 50 bridge over the Severn River will be reconfigured to address recurring congestion.
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is leading a project in Anne Arundel County that involves an additional lane on U.S. 50 (Blue Star Memorial Highway). Another eastbound lane is being added between MD 70 (Rowe Boulevard) and MD 2/MD 450 (Gov. Ritchie Highway). The purpose of the new lane is to help ease major congestion in this area, especially during summer travel months.
Traffic lanes along the U.S. 50 bridge over the Severn River will be reconfigured to address recurring congestion. The project includes adding an additional eastbound U.S. 50 lane on the bridge by shifting the existing median barrier and restriping to provide seven through travel lanes (four lanes on eastbound U.S. 50; three lanes on westbound U.S. 50) between MD 70 and MD 2/MD 450.
Crews began work in August 2017, and the road will be open to traffic by Memorial Day 2018. Total completion is planned for late summer. When completed, this project will reportedly save drivers nearly 10 minutes during their commutes.
MDOT SHA's manager for the project is Sheritta Hill. The prime contractor is Joseph B. Fay Inc. of Glen Burnie, Md. Brad Adams is the superintendent of the company, and Michael Veid is the senior project manager.
The full cost of the project, with state funding being used for planning, design and construction, is $22.8 million.
“We are committed to have all lanes available to motorists before Memorial Day 2018, especially any paving that may occur [temperature-sensitive],” said Charlie Gischlar media relations manager of MDOT SHA.
MDOT SHA is reducing lane widths from 12 ft. to 11 ft. to create a fourth eastbound lane, which will help break severe congestion.
The contract calls for base widening of U.S. 50 for an approximate length of 600 ft., with full depth pavement. Approximately 4,200 ft. of the westbound side and 3,350 ft. of the eastbound side will be resurfaced. This will include wedge and leveling to improve the pavement super elevation. The median barrier on and approaching the U.S. 50 Bridge over the Severn River will be completely replaced.
“There are two separate bridges that currently exist at this location,” Gischlar said. “Each bridge carries a direction of travel for U.S. 50 [east and west]. This project will join the bridges, creating one bridge.”
This will require demolition of a portion of the existing bridge deck and catwalk, the placing of precast barriers on the bridge and approaches, the installation of new steel cross frames, the forming and pouring of a portion of a new bridge deck, the installation of portions of new fixed and finger joints, and the construction of approach slabs and full depth pavement.
In addition, miscellaneous repairs will be made to the bridge superstructure, and a new 160-ft.-long sound wall will be constructed. Storm water inlets, drainage pipes, and outlets and several other storm water management facilities also will be constructed.
Also included in the project are landscaping, lighting pole installation, line striping and traffic sign installation.
According to Gischlar, one of the project construction challenges is a very narrow and tight work zone. Work zone safety is an important aspect, and motorists are urged to slow down in the work zone and pay close attention.
The fusing of two bridge structures to make one structure also proves to be a challenging task.
Equipment to be used on the project includes piling driver machines, cranes, dozers, a barge (for under the bridge work), graders, excavators, man lifts, concrete trucks and machines, including screeds, rollers, pavers, generators, light towers and air compressors and tools.
Subcontractors include Seed and Site Solutions of Germantown, Md.; Zone Striping, Glassboro, N.J.; Sunrise Safety Services, Glen Burnie, Md.; Forestry First LLC., Lexington, S.C.; Long Fence, Baltimore; SJ and Son Construction, Hyattsville, Md.; Chesapeake Guardrails, Linthicum Heights, Md.; Franco's Liberty Bridge Inc. Baltimore; Titan Industrial Services Inc., Baltimore; Eastern Caisson Corporation; Aggregate Industries; Utility Imaging Inc.; Paul Rach Inc.; Johnson Bernat-Associates Inc.; Midasco LLC; REN Reinforcing Steel Company; Strum Contracting Company Inc.; Dot Diamond Core Drilling Inc.; and Empire Landscape LLC.