Michael A. Sawyers
CUMBERLAND — Renovation work on the Interstate 68 bridge that spans Cumberland will intensify during the next two weeks as crews continue to construct elevated platforms and begin to sandblast, according to Stephen Bucy of the State Highway Administration.
Bucy said the work on bridge Section 3 near Canal Place will be followed by similar work on sections 2 and 1, toward the westerly terminus of the span.
Bucy’s comments were made Thursday evening at a public airing in the Allegany Museum.
“SHA will work with individuals to lessen the impacts (to businesses and residences) as much as possible,” Bucy said.
Entities directly impacted by work in Section 3 include the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad and Canal Place, including a picnic area as well as Canal Place shops and Atlantic Broadband.
In Section 2, renovation could impact the George Washington House Park and the sidewalk for the Fort Cumberland Trail.
When work moves to Section 1, more businesses will be impacted, including Parkview Discount Liquor, Country Accents, Sheer Beauty Styling Salon, PharmaCare/satellite post office and Cumberland Optical. Bridge Street leading to the Cumberland/Ridgeley bridge and Johnson Street are likely to have have travel delays, according to SHA spokeswoman Heather Keels.
The work schedule for the remaining four sections to the east is being revised, Bucy said. The renovation of the 44-year-old bridge is a two-year project.
It was pointed out Thursday that the new lighting to be installed will be about half of that currently in place, but will be located more strategically.
Downtown Manager Ed Mullaney was assured by SHA that lighting beneath the bridge and above parking lots will continue to be in place.
Bucy said that only two sections of below-bridge parking will be closed at any one time and those sections will not be adjacent.
When painting takes place above a street, traffic will be reduced to one lane.
Also during the next two weeks, air and soil monitoring will begin, as will concrete work on the state Route 51 bridge that carries Industrial Boulevard over the CSX railroad tracks.
Contact Michael A. Sawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.