Placement of concrete for the stem of the north abutment (abutment B) in July 2020. (MDOT photo)
Just to the northwest of Washington, D.C., most drivers are all too familiar with brutal traffic on Maryland Route 355, where it's known as Wisconsin Avenue and Rockville Pike.
Where MD Route 355 is known as Frederick Road, drivers can expect temporary stoppages after work ramped up on the construction of a new bridge over Little Bennett Creek in Hyattstown.
The new structure is being built in place of a 93-year-old existing bridge on the two-lane stretch of road near the border between Montgomery and Frederick counties. State highway officials said the old span was still safe for travel but had reached the end of its reliable service life.
The new structure is being erected 3 ft. higher than the old bridge to minimize stream bank erosion when water levels rise along the creek below. In addition, crews also will be redirecting and redesigning 900 ft. of Little Bennett Creek to prevent further erosion, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA). That work will include creating more channels for water to be diverted when the stream swells after heavy rains.
A temporary bridge and roadway, adjacent to the original, is now carrying MD Route 355 traffic during construction.
Concrete General Inc. in Gaithersburg is the prime contractor for the Maryland bridge replacement. The total cost of the project is $10.4 million.
With the job more than 71 percent complete, on Aug. 25, huge precast concrete beams were hauled to the site on flatbed trucks. Periodically, flagging crews are stopping traffic in both directions to enable a crane to remove the beams from the truck and swing them into place. The MDOT SHA said crews will try to keep traffic stops to a minimum wait time.
Daily construction is expected to wrap up by 3 p.m. to minimize delays during afternoon rush hour.
After the bridge beams are in place, Maryland highway officials said construction of the new deck will begin in September.
Recently completed work includes:
- Crews drilling and installing the steel core H-piles needed for the foundation of the south abutment (Abutment A),
- Work also was finished on the placement and installation of the concrete footing for Abutment A.
- Concrete General performed the form work needed for the stem of the south abutment.
According to the MDOT SHA, the bridge construction will continue throughout the fall and winter. If all goes to plan, the estimated completion of the new MD Route 355 bridge will be the late spring of 2020.
Crews installed and poured concrete for the steel core H-piles for the foundation support of the south abutment in August 2020. (MDOT photo)