Pocomoke Bridge Construction A Concern For Police, Residents - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Pocomoke Bridge Construction A Concern For Police, Residents

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POCOMOKE CITY, Md. - It's known as the major connection between Somerset and Worcester Counties, but lately, it has been a major concern for police and some drivers.

The Maryland State Highway Administration began a $14.4 million dollar project to replace the driving surface of the two northbound lanes of US 13 and resurface the two southbound decks crossing the Pocomoke River back on May 5th. Despite attempts by the SHA to educate the public about the project, police have started to see some problems.

"We have seen an increase in calls for service due to accidents at that location," says First Sergeant Dave Dalfonso with the Maryland State Police Princess Anne Barrack. "Anytime you have two lanes going into one especially on a major highway, it's going to be a lot of congestion, a lot of accidents."

Some Pocomoke City residents say they have also heard of multiple accidents, and witnessed hours of backed-up traffic as a result.

"They don't realize that the light is on the other side of the bridge and they get on top of it and the traffic stops," says Wanda Stewart. "It has been bad."

On Sunday, it was as bad as a reported seven-car pile-up. Police say they are now working with SHA to see how they can make the construction zone safer for the many drivers expected to travel over the bridges. The area is already marked with signs shifting to one lane, along with a drop in speed limit to 45 miles per hour, but SHA officials say it's failing to notice and obey the signs that cause the source of most construction zone incidents.

Gee Wiliams, community liaison for SHA, says there have been two fatalities in the past month due to drivers not paying attention in a utility work zone.

"They're usually totally not necessary if they had been alert and had slowed down," says Williams. "We have so many visitors to our area but it's very hard to reach them when they come from all over the mid-Atlantic and beyond. I think that's going to be a constant challenge."

"I can see how it can be confusing for out-of-towners," says Patrick Ritchey, a Pocomoke City resident.

With both bridges constructed in 1959 and 1966, most residents are not disputing that the project is needed.

"Those bridges are I'm bad shape and they do need repair," days Stewart.

However, with a long summer ahead, some still are not taking chances.

"I just take the other bridge now, I don't want to risk my kids getting hurt or anything like that," says Ritchey.

Police are asking anyone traveling through the area to slow down and stay alert at all times. For more information on the project, visit the SHA website.

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