More than $35 million will be spent on roads and bridges and other transportation-related projects in Wicomico County and the city of Salisbury as part of the Maryland Department of Transportation's $16.4 billion six-year capital budget.
Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater recently briefed Wicomico County officials on the various projects during MDOT’s annual tour of counties.
The State Highway Administration has the River East Branch Bridge replacement project under way. The $13 million project was divided into two phases to allow for utility relocation before the bridge replacement. SHA completed the first phase in 2019; utility relocations are occurring now. The balance of the project, including replacing the bridge, is expected to begin in 2023.
The SHA in April completed an $8.8 million project to upgrade Route 13 Business from north of South Boulevard to north of Calvert Street. The project included upgrades to drainage infrastructure, reconstruction of sidewalks and resurfacing of the road.
The Maryland Transit Administration is providing $5 million in operating and capital grants to the Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore to support Shore Transit. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Wicomico County will receive nearly $8 million in federal relief funds to support transit operations and/or capital needs of the county as provided by Shore Transit.
The city of Salisbury will receive more than $597,000 in Transportation Alternatives Program funding to design 8.9 miles of on-street bikeways on 15 streets in key areas, including pedestrian crossing improvements. All facilities will be designed to tie into existing routes or routes scheduled for implementation in the next two years.
The city also is set to receive $100,000 through the Kim Lamphier Bikeways Network program to construct bike lanes and traffic calming features along West Road in northwest Salisbury.
Through the Recreational Trails Program, Wicomico County will receive $50,000 to construct two stone dust surface trails and associated trailside amenities for the Pirate's Wharf Trail Development project.
The department also is providing nearly $150,000 for organizations and law enforcement agencies in Wicomico County to address highway safety.
MDTA Capital Planning Director Melissa Williams discussed the Bay Bridge's automated lane closure system, a project that will allow for more efficient opening and closing of lanes for two-way traffic operations on the bridges.
The project will include overhead lane-use control signals, dynamic message signs, horizontal swing gates and illuminated pavement markers. Work began in February 2020 on the Eastern Shore and January 2021 in Anne Arundel County.
The project includes reconstructing and realigning Route 50 eastbound in the former toll plaza area. In fall 2022, the automated lane closure system is expected to be in place in both directions of Route 50.
In February, the Tier 1 Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the ongoing Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study was made available for public review and comment at baycrossingstudy.com.
The state held in-person and virtual public hearings in April, and the comment period ended in May. A Selected Corridor Alternative is expected to be announced in a combined Final Environmental Impact Statement/Record of Decision published this winter.