(July 15, 2014) – The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is nearing completion of a two-year-long project to reconstruct the I-70 bridges over Conococheague Creek, west of Hagerstown. Weather permitting, traffic will be in its final configuration by the end of July.

The $16.5 million project includes replacing the structural steel and the decks (driving surface) of the towering 55-foot-high bridges, as well as widening the support piers. Construction began in June 2012.

"This bridge rehabilitation, together with its twin project on the bridges over MD 63, has been one of the largest projects SHA has undertaken in Washington County, and we are excited to announce it is nearing completion,” SHA District Engineer Anthony Crawford said. “These projects will add decades to the service lives of the bridges while improving safety with the addition of wider shoulders.”

The project widened the eastbound and westbound I-70 bridges by 21 feet each to include wide shoulders.  This will give motorists space to pull over during emergencies and allow room for the potential future addition of a third lane. The bridges carry an average of 56,000 vehicles per day.

Over the next few weeks, motorists will encounter shifting lanes and new traffic patterns at the Conococheague  bridges as crews complete the final paving. Landscaping work for the project will be completed in the fall. SHA’s contractor for the Conococheage Creek bridge project is Concrete General of Gaithersburg.

Another project a mile east of the Conococheague bridges, construction on the I-70 bridges over MD 63, is expected to be complete this fall. For work zone safety, the 55 mph reduced speed limit and Maryland SafeZones automated enforcement will remain in place on I-70 until the completion of that project. The contractor for the bridges over MD 63 is C. William Hetzer, Inc. of Hagerstown.

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!

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Caption: Barrier walls used during construction have been removed from the I-70 bridges over Conococheague Creek. Crews will complete the final paving over the next few weeks before putting traffic in its final configuration. The project included widening the bridge to add shoulders. The completed bridge is wide enough to accommodate a potential future third lane on I-70.