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U.S. 13 Bridge Receives Much-Needed Upgrade

The project forges ahead despite "unusually challenging" conditions.

Tue December 02, 2014 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero

Along US 13 over Pocomoke River, all traffic is diverted onto the Northbound Bridge while the Southbound Bridge is under construction.
Along US 13 over Pocomoke River, all traffic is diverted onto the Northbound Bridge while the Southbound Bridge is under construction.
Along US 13 over Pocomoke River, all traffic is diverted onto the Northbound Bridge while the Southbound Bridge is under construction. Crews place latex modified concrete on the Southbound Bridge over Pocomoke River. Finishing and curing of the new latex modified concrete is shown here on the Southbound Bridge deck. Crews hydromill the Southbound Bridge while traffic runs on Northbound Bridge. The newly completed Southbound Bridge deck. Rebar is in place for the new parapets. Sectional barges are used for access from the water, and swing stage scaffolding is used to access the repair work at the pier caps. To begin diaphragm rehabilitation, crews removed portions of existing diaphragm concrete on the Southbound Bridge. Crews work on installing new armored expansion dams at all 24 piers on Southbound Bridge.

A bridge on the Somerset/Worcester County line in Maryland is getting a needed upgrade.

Upgrading of the U.S. 13 Bridge over the Pocomoke River began in May 2014 and is on schedule for a fall 2015 completion date. This rehabilitation of approximately 1,844-ft. long (562 m), dual lane bridges with 25 individual steel beam spans is headed by Joseph B. Fay Company, Glen Burnie, Md., with Mike Veid serving as senior project manager.

According to David Buck, media relations manager of the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), the project replaces the existing decks of the two northbound lanes of the U.S. 13 (Ocean Highway) Bridge and resurfaces the two southbound bridge decks crossing the Pocomoke River that connects Somerset and Worcester Counties in Maryland. In addition to the resurfacing and replacing of the bridge decks, the contract includes bridge painting and repairs to steel beams and the concrete surfaces of all bridge piers.

The rehabilitation work planned for the Southbound Bridge includes demolition and reconstruction of all of the roadway expansion joints, steel repairs, hydro-demolition of the existing concrete deck, placement of a new 4-in. (10.2 cm) latex modified concrete deck, new parapet walls, concrete protective coating and spall repairs on all pier caps and fiber protective wraps on all pier columns, new asphalt approaches, guardrail, signage and striping.

The rehabilitation work planned for the Northbound Bridge includes complete demolition and replacement of the existing superstructure, replacement of all bearings, steel repairs, concrete protective coating and spall repairs on all pier caps and fiber protection wrap on all pier columns, cleaning and painting all steel beams, new asphalt approaches, guardrail, signage, and striping.

This project uses 840 cu. yds. (642 cu m) of latex modified concrete for the southbound bridge deck, and approximately 10,000 sq. ft. (929 sq m) of concrete protective coating. A total of approximately 2,500 cu. yds. (1,911 cu m) of concrete was used, as well as 6,400 cu. yds. (4,893 cu m) of hydro-demolition concrete removal.

“Management of traffic through the work zone has been unusually challenging as motorists are failing to reduce their speed and to properly queue to one lane by following the numerous work zone safety signs and the flagging operation at the site,” Buck said. “As a result, the state of Maryland has authorized setting up a construction speed zone camera to enable automatic enforcement of the work zone speed of vehicles by the Maryland State Police.”

Buck explained that the size and scale of the project made construction necessary throughout the summer when the highway reaches its peak traffic levels.

“There are a very high percentage of out-of-state motorists who were using the highway to reach summer vacation destinations or large special events in the region,” he said. “This made it particularly challenging to change the traffic pattern from two, two-lane bridges down to one single lane in each direction [Northbound and Southbound].”

Another project challenge is that the bridges are located over critical wetlands and the Pocomoke River, and no equipment is permitted underneath the bridges for accessing the work. All access must be gained from the top of the bridge deck or from barges in the waterway.

One unique aspect of the project was the planning and implementation of containment for all of the demolition debris and water used for construction. Everything was required to be 100 percent contained and disposed of off site.

Major subcontractors include George and Lynch Inc., of Dover, Del., for stormwater control and grading of the site; and Pioneer Contracting Inc., of Annapolis, Md., for reconstruction of concrete work under the bridge decks.

Major equipment used includes Caterpillar IT28F loaders, a Kobelco BH47-115 SR excavator, Komatsu 300 excavators with hydraulic hammers, a Bidwell B62 concrete finishing machine, and Terex HP35 hydra platforms.

“Originally constructed in 1959 and 1966, the bridge decks have outlived their useful service,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “Rehabilitating the bridge decks on this vital roadway on Maryland’s lower eastern shore will save money on future maintenance costs and support safety and mobility as part of SHA’s bridge system preservation program.”

The contract amount is $14.4 million, with funding coming from the state of Maryland’s Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013. The Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 maintains crucial system preservation investments and allows Maryland to activate long-term strategies to invest in Maryland’s transportation systems. By putting people back to work in the transportation industry with $4.4 billion in new investments in the next six years, Maryland is creating hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity and providing Marylanders with the transportation infrastructure necessary to grow and prosper for decades to come.

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