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Bridge work ahead

July 07, 2005|by ADAM BEHSUDI

WILLIAMSPORT

adamb@herald-mail.com

Motorists should expect delays in the coming months as they cross the U.S. 11 bridge in Williamsport.

A $1.1 million upgrade, which began in late June, is necessary to extend the life of the nearly 100-year-old bridge, said David Buck, a State Highway Administration spokesperson.

"As our system is aging more, we actually spend more than half of our entire budget on upgrades and preserving our existing system," Buck said.

According to a release from the highway administration, the bridge work will include the construction of an extra concrete barrier to protect the piers in the water, repair of the bridge substructure and improvement of the drainage.

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The bridge spans 1,700 feet over the Potomac River. About 9,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day, according to the release. It is one of four bridges that cross the Potomac from Washington County. Three of those bridges are maintained by the State of Maryland.

Buck said the cost of the construction is common for the work that is being done.

"In the overall scheme of things, this is a low in terms of dollar figures," he said.

During the work, traffic will be reduced to one lane at various times.

"Chances are if they are rehabilitating the bridge itself, they won't have a permanent lane closure," said Kellie Boulware, a spokesperson for the highway administration. She said a lane could be closed for weeks at a time while repairs are made.

Construction should be completed by late fall.

Although Boulware was uncertain when the lanes would be closed, she said motorists will be warned of any lane closure three to four days in advance.

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