A new Bay Bridge deck replacement project will begin this year and the first phase of prep work for construction is beginning now.
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) says you’ll see a tall crane on your upcoming trips across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge between Anne Arundel and Queen Anne’s counties in Maryland. The crane will be doing some under-bridge utility work beginning in mid-March and a second crane will arrive to operate in late spring. The work will happen during routine off-peak lane closures, according to MDTA.
The agency is asking drivers to stay alert and boaters passing under the bridge near the project to “Make No Wake for Worker and Waterway Safety”. Drivers on the bridge should obey overhead lane-use signals at all times.
The $140 million Eastbound Bay Bridge Deck Replacement will get underway this fall and will use multiple cranes. The first section crews will tackle extends about a mile on the Eastern side of the eastbound bridge span. MDTA says areas of the existing deck (or road surface) are nearly 50 years old and have reached the end of their service life.
If the phrase “bridge deck replacement” sounds familiar, it’s because the Bay Bridge already underwent a deck replacement project that began in 2019 and extended into the COVID-19 pandemic. That project involved 24/7 lane closures that exacerbated existing Bay Bridge traffic problems and drew outrage from communities and lawmakers on both sides of the bridge.
Eventually, the state began staffing crews around the clock, allowing the lanes to reopen a year ahead of time and wrapping the project in “record time”, according to MDTA.
This time around, MDTA says major work will be accomplished overnight using two-way operations on the westbound span. There will not be 24/7 lane closures and both spans will be open for drivers during peak periods. During off-peak times during the day, you can expect to see lane closures while crews get work areas ready for their night shifts.
The new deck sections will be built offsite and brought by barge to the Bay Bridge. During the overnight work shifts, crews will remove parts of the existing deck and install new precast deck panels.
By the end, the Eastbound Bay Bridge Deck Replacement will replace the deck floor, upgrade barriers, rehabilitate the steel superstructure, replace lane-use signal gantries and do stormwater management work. It’s expected to be completed by early 2026.
This is the first in a series of projects planned for the next several decades to “maintain safe and working order conditions” for the 71-year-old eastbound bridge span.
To check Bay Bridge traffic conditions anytime, call 1-877-BAYSPAN (1-877-229-7726), visit baybridge.com, or see real-time updates on Twitter (@TheMDTA) or on Facebook.
-Meg Walburn Viviano