Friday, August 31, 2012

Pocomoke Gets Money For Bridge Repair Work

Finally the funding Pocomoke City has been waiting for!! Thank you Senator Jim Mathias.

Written by
Brian Shane
POCOMOKE CITY -- Funding has been secured to pave the dualized Route 13 bridge over the Pocomoke River, a span that's been plagued by a serious pothole problem.

"I thought it wasn't going to happen until 2014, 2015, so hearing that we got it down (last week) was great news," said Mayor Bruce Morrison.

Fixing the dilapidated bridge has been one of Morrison's biggest priorities since he took office.

Morrison said he's been needling state and local officials to find the money, and the joint effort worked out.

"I tell them, 'Go over, take a ride, tell me what you think,' " he said. "There was quite a few holes on it, because last time I rode it, my trailer almost came off (my car)."

Maryland's State Highway Administration is putting $10 million toward the project, said Donnie Drewer, District 1 Engineer for SHA. Contractors will be solicited in summer 2013, and construction will begin in fall 2013.

The project will completely replace the bridge decking on the northbound bridge, which is the older span, built in 1959. The southbound span, built in 1966, will only receive a deck overlay with concrete.

Traffic will be rerouted to the opposite side of the road as each span of the bridge is fixed. It means SHA will have to build a temporary lane across the middle of the north and south lanes, so folks can switch from one side to the other.

Unofficially, Drewer estimated that construction should take about nine months. He said it will not affect boat traffic along the Pocomoke River.

Money for the project will come through mostly state and some federal funds, SHA officials said.

According to Drewer, some project funding was secured in part through the efforts of State Sen. Jim Mathias, D-38-Worcester.
Mathias said when he learned in May that the bridge was in need of serious repair, he reached out to state transportation department officials, with whom he has a good working relationship.

"Our job is constituency service," Mathias said.

"When I read in the paper that Mayor Morrison was having some challenges with that bridge, I quickly got on the phone. I asked if I could help my constituents out, and they went right to work."

Potholes on the dualized bridge span are dangerous and have been known to knock the hubcaps off moving cars. Some potholes are deep enough for debris to fall through to the Pocomoke River below, endangering boaters.

Bridge upkeep for these two spans is the responsibility of the State Highway Administration. There are about 5,000 bridges in Maryland, with half maintained by SHA and the rest by counties or municipalities.

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