Pocomoke, Md.- Motorists may want to factor extra time into their schedule if they need to use the Route 13 bridge that connects Worcester and Somerset counties. The bridge is about to undergo major repairs and will alter the traffic pattern as a result.
The Maryland State Highway Administration is about to start construction under a $14.4 million bridge rehabilitation project. SHA will replace bridge decks on the northbound lanes and resurface the decks on southbound lanes. Repairs will start Tuesday morning, shutting down both southbound lanes and using a temporary median crossover to redirect traffic.
Commuters traveling both directions will have to share the bridge that carries northbound lanes. The single-lane traffic pattern will continue through November 2014 until southbound lanes reopen at that time. Once that side is fixed, the northbound lanes will shut down and traffic, coming from both directions, will use a single lane on the southbound side until late 2015.
In addition to bridge deck improvements, the SHA will repair steel beams and concrete surfaces of the bridge piers. A new paint job will be included too.
Emory Brooks uses the Route 13 bridge often. He said repairs are long overdue.
"You can just tell from the damage on the top [of the bridge], " Brooks said. " There have been times when I drove over it, and you can see parts of it coming apart."
Terrence Snowden, Sr. also noticed damage to the decades-old bridges.
"A lot of unnecessary potholes and bumps that tear your car and alignments up," Snowden said.
A new traffic pattern will not be the only change on and near the bridge, a new speed limit will be enforced too. The speed limit will go from 55mph t55 mphmph throughout the construction work zone.
Shelly Daniels supports the project, but is concerned about the amount of traffic it will cause in the area.
"It's going to be difficult; it's going to be a lot of traffic," Daniels said. " Probably a lot of people are going to try to detour through downtown , which is going to cause a lot more traffic through the city here.
On the bright-side, Daniels said she hopes it draws more business to the area.
The contractor will work on the bridge Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; however, a spokesperson for the SHA said extended hours into the early evening may be necessary, depending on the progress of the project.