Downtown Salisbury bridge repairs on state's to-do list

By Liz Holland
Posted 9/28/22

Wicomico County will benefit from several roads and infrastructure improvements as part of the state’s Draft FY 2023-2028 Consolidated Transportation Program, Maryland Transportation Secretary …

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Downtown Salisbury bridge repairs on state's to-do list

Posted

Wicomico County will benefit from several roads and infrastructure improvements as part of the state’s Draft FY 2023-2028 Consolidated Transportation Program, Maryland Transportation Secretary James F. Ports Jr. told county leaders.

Ports and other state transportation officials recently briefed Wicomico County officials on the various projects during MDOT’s annual tour of counties.

The plan calls for a record $19.9 billion six-year investment to replace and repair aging infrastructure, expand transit opportunities, support Maryland’s economic recovery and preserve and expand the state’s transportation network.

In Wicomico County, one major project will be the replacement of the 85-year-old Route 13 bridge over the east branch of the Wicomico River in Downtown Salisbury.

“That’s a 1937 structure that needs a little TLC,” said Tim Smith, Administer of the State Highway Administration.

The new bridge will remove the weight restriction and improve pedestrian and bicycle access in downtown’s Riverwalk. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring.

SHA also plans to make safety improvements at three intersections and four crossovers along Route 50 between Hebron and Salisbury, Smith said. Roughly $7 million will go toward constructing turn lanes as well as acceleration and deceleration lanes, improving merging safety and addressing ongoing and future traffic growth.

The county also will benefit from more than $4.1 million in operating and capital grants to the Tri-County Council of the Lower Eastern Shore to support Shore Transit operations, said Travis Johnson, Director of the Office of Local Transit.

Additionally, the city of Salisbury will get $80,000 from the Maryland Transit Authority for a feasibility study on fixed route and micro-transit within the city to complement the existing Shore Transit service, Johnson said.

The county also will receive $27,000 from the Maryland Aviation Administration for land acquisition at the Salisbury Regional Airport.

Video tolls and Bay Bridge updates

 

The secretary also noted the Maryland Transportation Authority’s conversion to all-electronic tolling across the state, and reminded customers to settle video toll bills soon. Those with outstanding video toll bills from Maryland toll bridges and roads have 69 more days remaining in MDTA’s civil penalty waiver grace period, which started in February and continues through Nov. 30. For every Video Toll transaction paid in full during the grace period, the civil penalty is waived.

MDTA Director of Planning and Program Development Melissa Williams gave an update on the $28 million Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study, Tier 2, which Gov. Larry Hogan launched in June.

The Tier 2 study is part of the National Environmental Policy Act process, and is expected to last four to five years. It will build on findings from the Tier 1 study, which identified Corridor 7, the corridor containing the existing Bay Bridge, as the Selected Corridor Alternative. MDTA recently held a series of open house events to inform residents and other stakeholders of the Tier 2 schedule and opportunities for feedback. More details are available at baycrossingstudy.com.

The new Bay Bridge automated lane closure system will be operational this fall and will improve safety and efficiency during the opening and closing of lanes – including during two-way traffic operations on the bridge.

The system includes new, large overhead lane-use signals, full-color message signs, illuminated pavement markers and automated lane closure gates.

In addition, pre-construction services are underway for the Bay Bridge eastbound deck replacement project, with major construction expected to begin next year. The majority of the work will take place off peak, including overnight hours, to minimize traffic and local impacts.

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