Michael A. Sawyers
CUMBERLAND — Preliminary work to renovate the Interstate 68 bridge overtop Cumberland will begin Jan. 22 in the area above Canal Place, according to State Highway Administration spokeswoman Heather Keels.
Early stage work will include construction fencing and start of a construction platform.
The choice to begin the two-year project on what SHA calls Section 3 came because of a request from Dee Dee Ritchie, executive director of the Canal Place Preservation & Development Authority.
“We asked for that because we want as little disruption as possible during our busy time, the summer months,” Ritchie said Monday. “We are tough enough for people to find as it is.”
Section 3 has a western boundary at the tracks of the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and extends eastward across South Mechanic Street and ends above municipal parking lots beneath the bridge.
Keels said that if weather permits, Titan Industrial Services Inc., Baltimore, will complete work above Canal Place before the heavy tourist season begins and will have a work platform installed above the railroad tracks before the steam engine begins its runs to Frostburg in May.
A public meeting to discuss details will take place Feb. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Allegany Museum’s Grand Courtroom, 3 Pershing St.
Repairs include sandblasting of steel, strengthening of concrete, sealing of the road surface and creation of water drains. New lighting will be installed.
The bridge has been divided into seven sections for work purposes.
“Traffic will never be shut down completely, but motorists can expect single-lane closures not only on the bridge, but on the streets below,” said Stephen Bucy, assistant district engineer at the agency’s LaVale headquarters.
Bucy pointed out that the 43-year-old, 3,121-foot bridge is structurally sound.
The project will cost almost $14 million.
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at email@example.com.