Dorchester fishing pier could open in July

By Dave Ryan
Posted 6/30/22

CAMBRIDGE – A favorite spot among locals and visitors could soon be open again for fishing, photography and leisurely strolls.

The Bill Burton State Park’s fishing piers were closed by …

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Dorchester fishing pier could open in July

Posted

CAMBRIDGE – A favorite spot among locals and visitors could soon be open again for fishing, photography and leisurely strolls.

The Bill Burton State Park’s fishing piers were closed by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources on Dec. 31, 2021. The agency cited the structure’s deterioration as a hazard, and closed both piers – one stretching from the Dorchester shore and the other from Talbot’s side – to the public.

“Myself and Commission President [Lajan] Cephas have been in discussions with [DNR] Secretary Haddaway-Riccio regarding the Bill Burton fishing pier and we are happy to report some small bit of good news,” Cambridge Council Member Chad Malkus (District 5) announced last week.

“While the status of entire pier remains an ongoing and costly concern, we have been pressing to at least get a portion of the pier reopened to restore the walkway and path under Route 50 and the bridge so that pedestrian and bicycle activity could resume.”

The piers were part of the original bridge over the Choptank River, built about 80 years ago. In the 1980s, the two-lane span was no longer appropriate for traffic on U.S. 50, and the new Malkus Bridge was built.

The first span was divided by removing a section from the middle, creating two piers on which pedestrians could enjoy outdoor, mid-river recreation.

Through the winter and spring, the piers were closed “until a structural evaluation can be completed. We contracted a firm to conduct an underwater assessment of the piers of the 80-year-old former highway bridge,” a statement from the DNR said.

On June 22, DNR staff met to discuss the Bill Burton walkway, Mr. Malkus said in his statement.

“The first 270-foot walkway is expected to open this July after minor repairs. Required repairs include patchwork in 2 areas. The horizontal flat surfaces (where pedestrians walk) need to be smoothed over for safety,” he wrote. “Additionally, the upright railings that have exposed rebar are set to have material placed over it. The minor repairs will start next week. Once completed, an engineer will return to inspect the repairs and write a letter approving the section for foot traffic. The letter is expected by July 6 or 7. The walkway is expected to open in mid-July.”