Maryland transportation leaders are warning boaters on the Potomac River to “MAKE NO WAKE” at the site of the Nice/Middleton Bridge construction project.
The Rt. 301 bridge replacement that began in July is one of the state’s biggest transportation projects and will be ongoing until 2023. When it’s finished, the bridge will have four wide travel lanes (compared to two narrower lanes on the current 80-year-old bridge) and a 135-foot clearance for ships.
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) says boaters are speeding through the construction area, creating large wakes. “This is a major hazard for workers on the river or in manlifts 175 feet in the air,” the agency wrote in a social media post. “Large wakes cause work platforms to swing violently.”
MDTA is asking boaters to slow down, use extreme caution, and steer clear of any construction vessels—for your own sake as well as those of the workers.
The Nice/Middleton Bridge connects southern Maryland and northeastern Virginia. MDTA says the new, larger bridge will not only double vehicle capacity, it will be safer thanks to a barrier between east- and westbound lanes and two-foot shoulders. It will also reduce backups with all-electronic tolling.
The bridge replacement will cost $463 million and MDTA says its improved mobility will improve economic opportunities when it opens to traffic in early 2023.
-Meg Walburn Viviano