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New Single-Span Bridge to Replace Obsolete MD 272

The main challenge for this project will be scheduling parts of the project that require crews to interact with the rail traffic.

Tue May 19, 2015 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

A new single-span straight girder bridge is being built on MD 272 over the Amtrak Railway in North East, Md., which is in Cecil County.

The construction cost is $11.8 million, and the prime contractor for the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is Mumford and Miller of Middletown, Del., with Todd Willits serving as the project engineer. Both state and federal funding is being used.

The existing MD 272 (Mauldin Avenue) Bridge is a three-span steel beam structure. Built in 1954, the bridge has 3-ft. (.9 m) wide sidewalks and does not have shoulders, making it functionally obsolete. The average daily traffic volume from U.S. 40 (Pulaski Highway) to the bridge is reportedly 23,000 vehicles.

The new bridge will provide two lanes, 5-ft. (1.5 m) wide shoulders, and 5-ft. wide ADA compliant sidewalks and ramps for pedestrians. SHA also will build two permanent retaining walls and install special aesthetic lighting in partnership with the town of North East.

The MD 272 Bridge project also includes a partial realignment of one-quarter mi. (1.2 km) along Mauldin Avenue. Crews will construct new 5-ft. wide concrete sidewalks on both sides of MD 272 and ADA compliant pedestrian ramps that will extend along MD 272 from the intersection with Main Street and Russell Street to the entrance of the North East Station Shopping Center.

The new MD 272 Bridge project also includes installation of new and relocated roadway signs, special aesthetic lighting along the sidewalks, and storm drain improvements.

According to Charlie Gischlar, public information officer of the SHA, construction started in late-January 2015, and should be completed in mid-2017, weather permitting.

“The project is approximately two months behind schedule due largely to weather delays, but also some scheduling, coordinating with the railway, and permitting delays as well,” Gischlar said. “There was also additional bridge deck work that was performed prior to the traffic shift.

Traffic will be maintained during construction, but drivers will be shifted during the different phases of the project. The main challenge for this project will be scheduling parts of the project that require crews to interact with the rail traffic.”

According to the SHA Web site, several alternates for maintaining traffic along MD 272 during construction were considered, including a complete detour of MD 272, having one southbound lane of traffic across the bridge with the northbound traffic using a detour on Mechanics Valley Road, and maintaining two lanes of traffic.

Two public meetings were held to discuss these alternates, and the preferred option was to maintain two lanes of traffic on the bridge, as replacement of the bridge will be performed in multiple stages with a shift in the roadway alignment to the east. This shift also will require the construction of two permanent retaining walls to support the northbound roadway and minimize right of way impacts. Minimal impacts to traffic will be limited to times when the contractor is required to tie the new roadway into the existing alignment.

Major equipment to be used on the project includes cranes, pavers, rollers, and deck screeds.

The projected amount of concrete to be used is plus or minus 5,000 cu. yds. (3,823 cu m).

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