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State plans to replace Md. 63 bridge in 2011

July 08, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

WILLIAMSPORT - The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to replace the Md. 63 bridge over the CSX railroad near Williamsport in 2011.

SHA representatives held an informal public meeting on the plan Thursday at Springfield Middle School. The public was invited to ask questions.

The bridge near the I-70/81 Industrial Park was built in 1959, according to SHA.

Glenn Vaughan, the chief of SHA's bridge design division, said the bridge is rated a 4 on a scale of 1 to 9. Anything less than 5 indicates that a bridge needs to be repaired or replaced.

"It's reaching the end of its useful life," he said.

SHA is estimating the project would take about 10 weeks.

Construction is scheduled to start in June 2011, after school lets out.

The suggested detour will send drivers along U.S. 11, Interstate 81 and Interstate 70, adding a few extra miles.

Vaughan said a traffic consultant has determined that the alternative route won't create gridlock.

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He said SHA prefers closing the bridge entirely rather than closing parts of it and letting some traffic through, which would be more expensive and would take longer.

"Maintaining both lanes was not feasible due to the narrow width of the bridge," an SHA summary of the project says. "Maintaining only one traffic lane controlled with temporary traffic signals at each end of the bridge would require a much longer construction period. The recommended alternative allows work to be completed in the shortest possible time period while ensuring the safety of motorists and workers."

The project summary says anyone with questions may call Anthony Crawford, SHA's district engineer for Allegany, Garrett and Washington counties, at 800-760-7138 or Jason Pollock, SHA's project engineer, at 888-375-1084.

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