Getting an exclusive look at Route 50 bridge repairs

OCEAN CITY, Md. – On Tuesday, 47ABC got an exclusive look at repairs being made to the Route 50 bridge.

Kaitlyn Duncan, a Team Leader with the Maryland State Highway Administration’s Structural Remedial Engineering Division said, “We do need to be proactive about the repairs and do them now, so they don’t cause issues in the future.”

Right now, there are two parts of the Route 50 bridge that are being repaired.

Towards the west end of the bridge, crews are replacing any metal or concrete that’s been corroded by salt water.

Duncan said, “When [salt water] gets into the concrete, it degrades the concrete, and makes the reinforcing steel inside of it rust. When the salt water is on the steel, it rusts overtime and starts to lose sections, so we have to make sure we’re keeping track of that and building it back up.”

Another part of the Route 50 bridge that’s undergoing repairs is the drawbridge. Right now crews are doing steel repairs there and are making some electrical upgrades.

Duncan said, “In these areas and in the machinery room, we’re doing some electrical work. We’re putting in a new submarine cable, which carries electrical power across the bridge.”

As a result of the electrical work being done under the drawbridge, crews had to close off some lanes, and temporarily shut down the drawbridge to boaters.

Bob Rager, a Spokesperson for MSHA said, “We’re expecting early March we will be done with this.”

The big question is: Will all this work help to prevent the drawbridge from getting stuck in the up position?

Duncan said, “That’s the goal with the new submarine cable that we put in and some of the electrical upgrades that we’re doing. What we’ll be doing next year is all to just make sure that the bridge is functioning and continues to function the way it’s supposed to.”

Crews want to stress the bridge is still very safe to drive over. These repairs are simply being done now, so there are no issues in the future.

These repairs are expected to hold up for several decades, but crews will still have to come in and do some maintenance work in the mean time. For example, they will be back next winter to do more concrete repairs.

Lane closures on the Route 50 bridge should end in early March.

Categories: Local News, Maryland