Eastbound US 40 Traffic Shift onto Rehabilitated Bridge Scheduled for December 20; Westbound Traffic Anticipated to Shift December 27

(December 18, 2012) – Motorists traveling on US 40 (Baltimore National Pike) between Baltimore and Howard counties will encounter changing traffic patterns at the Patapsco River Bridge this month as the State Highway Administration (SHA) shifts traffic onto the newly reconstructed bridge and begins demolition of the temporary bridges that carried traffic during construction.

Weather permitting, crews will shift eastbound US 40 traffic onto the rehabilitated bridge the morning of Thursday, December 20, and shift westbound US 40 traffic on Thursday, December 27. After the eastbound shift on December 20, traffic will continue to have two lanes. However, at the time of the westbound shift, westbound US 40 will be reduced to one lane of traffic to allow room for crews to dismantle the temporary bridges. The second lane of westbound US 40 will reopen in late spring 2013.

The new traffic pattern  marks a major milestone in SHA’s $18 million project to rehabilitate and partially reconstruct the 76-year old historic bridge over the Patapsco River. Crews have reconstructed the 335-foot-long bridge from the arches upward, including replacing and slightly widening the deck (driving surface), replacing the parapet walls (barriers on the sides of the deck), and replacing the deteriorated bridge deck supports. The project began in early 2011, and traffic was shifted onto the temporary bridges in December 2011. Weather permitting, the entire project will be complete summer 2013.

Preparation to shift eastbound traffic onto the rehabilitated bridge will begin at 9 p.m. on December 19, and the shift will be complete by 5 a.m. on December 20. The westbound traffic shift is scheduled to be completed between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Drivers should stay alert for construction equipment, temporary lane closures and lane shifts. In case of inclement weather, the westbound shift may be postponed to January 2 or later.

Due to the westbound lane reduction and continued construction activity, motorists should plan for extra travel time over the next four to six months. Commuters traveling from I-695 to Ellicott City and points west may wish to use I-70 to reach US 29 and US 40 west of Ellicott City.

The US 40 corridor carries more than 37,000 vehicles each day and this number is even greater during the morning and evening rush hours. For the safety of motorists as well as construction workers, a reduced speed limit of 40 mph is in place through the work zone and will remain in effect through the end of the project.

More information about the project is available at Motorists with questions about the project may email or call the project field office at 410-461-1953 or toll-free at 1-866-998-0367 to reach the SHA District 4 Construction Division.

While SHA and its partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to actively modify his or her driving style to help prevent crashes. Stay alert – look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers. Slow down and don't follow too closely. Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For everyone!

Maryland now features FREE 511 traveler information! Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit  for current travel information. Sign up to personalize travel route information through MY511 on the website. Remember to use 511 safely – Maryland law prohibits hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving.

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