SHA Works to Repair OC Drawbridge to Prevent Further Problems - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

SHA Works to Repair OC Drawbridge to Prevent Further Problems

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(SHA Photo) US 50 Bridge over Sinepuxent Bay in the upright position to allow a tall ship to pass under. (SHA Photo) US 50 Bridge over Sinepuxent Bay in the upright position to allow a tall ship to pass under.
OCEAN CITY, Md. - The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration says it's repairing the mechanical systems of the Route 50 Bridge, otherwise known as the Harry S. Kelley Memorial Drawbridge, in Ocean City.

SHA says crews will close a single right lane of the bridge on Rt. 50 eastbound between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. over the next month, with an occasional continuous single right lane closure for 24 hours. SHA says the work should be completed by the end of March, weather permitting.

"SHA temporarily repaired the bridge after last summer's malfunction of the draw span. The work beginning now is a permanent fix to avoid another similar occurrence," said Donnie Drewer, SHA District Engineer. 

The bridge got stuck up in the open position on a busy summer Saturday, causing major traffic backups and essentially sending Ocean City into a gridlock for hours. Engineers had to hand crank the bridge down to the normal position as a temporary fix to alleviate the traffic, then came back at a later time to fix the broken motor. SHA says while that fix lasted the rest of the year, they're hoping this new repair work will prevent another summer nightmare.

"We scheduled the project during the less-traveled off-season to minimize impacts to travelers. As we move forward, we appreciate residents' and visitors' patience during the project," said Drewer.

SHA says it will not work March 13 through March 16 for the St. Patrick's Day Weekend when traffic volumes will be higher. Although motorists will be able to use the left lane throughout the repair project, SHA says drivers may want to consider using MD 90 (Ocean City Expressway) as an alternate route.

The US 50 Bridge over Sinepuxent Bay, built in 1942, has approximately 1,600 opening annually. SHA's contractor for the $65,000 repair is Covington Machine and Welding of Annapolis.

To obtain the latest travel conditions, including access to live traffic cameras, drivers can log onto www.md511.org and check in with SHA on Facebook and Twitter for updates.


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