Cumberland Times-News

December 6, 2012

Bridge work ‘isn’t the usual SHA project’

Officials talk rehabilitation problems, inconveniences

Michael A. Sawyers
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Rehabilitation of the Interstate 68 bridge across Cumberland will begin soon after the first of the year, according to William Rothman, supervisor for Titan Industrial Services Inc., the successful $13,914,708 bidder for the two-year project.

The project was to begin a year ago, but a bid dispute caused the Maryland State Highway Administration to restructure and rebid the work.

A team-building meeting of businesses and government representatives took place Thursday morning with the goal of reducing the problems and inconveniences that is expected to be associated with a complex, lengthy project in a municipal setting.

“This isn’t the usual SHA project,” said Stephen Bucy, LaVale-based agency spokes-man, explaining that more individuals, businesses and services than usual will be affected because of the bridge’s location.

Emphasizing that the bridge, built in 1968, is structurally sound, Bucy said rehabilitation will include sand-blasting, painting and repairs to concrete, retaining walls, steel, drainage systems and road surface seals.

New lighting will be installed, a fact welcomed by Downtown Mall Manager Ed Mullaney who said it would be a positive impact for the downtown and its events.

“The piers below the bridge will be wrapped with a fiber wrap,” Bucy said, adding that the bulk of the project’s work will be below the bridge.

The most recent traffic tally shows that more than 45,000 vehicles use the bridge each day. The bridge has six entrance and exit ramps and is 3,121 feet long. Work will take place on seven bridge sections, two at a time, but never adjacent to each other.

Bridge traffic will never be shut down for the rehabilitation, though single-lane flow will happen often, according to SHA officials.

Capt. Greg Leake of the Cumberland Police Department expressed concern about single-lane traffic, saying it has caused traffic to back up in the past. Leake recommended having “detour routes in place well ahead of time.”

A public meeting will be scheduled sometime in January to explain details to interested or impacted individuals.

Parking lots below the bridge will be closed during some periods of work. Streetside parking will be affected in locations, as well.

Sometime during the project, South Centre Street will be closed between Wendy’s Restaurant and Harrison Street.

Bucy said SHA will go above and beyond requirements to contain paint dust and other airborne particles, enclosing that work, monitoring air samples and having a hygienist on full-time duty.

Titan Industrial Services of Baltimore factored into its bid delays that will be caused by tourism events at Canal Place and Town Centre.

Other people who attended represented the Cumberland Outdoor Club, Canal Place and U.S. Postal Service.

The work is scheduled to be completed in February 2015.

The project also includes rehabilitation of the state Route 51 bridge on Industrial Boulevard that spans the CSX railroad tracks near the Cumberland Outdoor Club and Fairfield Inn and Suites.

Work may be monitored online at http://bit.ly/cross town bridge.

Contact Michael A. Sawyers at msawyers@times-news.com.