(September 10, 2015) – To keep the MD 213 Bridge over the Sassafras River in good condition, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) must close the structure to automobiles beginning September 19. Crews will clean and paint the drawspan and repair hydraulic systems.  The bridge will remain closed up to three weeks, reopening by October 9.

SHA will post detour signs to direct traffic around the bridge.  Commuters, commercial drivers, local residents and business owners are urged to plan ahead for deliveries, appointments and any other time-sensitive travel. The 20-mile detour between Galena and Cecilton will require extra travel time.

“It is important to note that local access near the bridge will be maintained at all times,” said District Engineer Greg Holsey. “Businesses on both sides of the bridge will be open as usual and accessible during the bridge closure.”

This is the first repainting project for the single-leaf drawspan linking Kent and Cecil counties since the bridge was constructed in 1987.  Area residents may encounter significant noise where blast cleaning equipment is stationed. To expedite reopening of the bridge and minimize overall impacts, contractors may work 24 hours a day. All work is weather-dependent.

While cleaning and painting of movable spans is a routine part of the state’s bridge preservation program, SHA recognizes the difficulties this work can pose for area residents, businesses and commuters.  Planning for the Sassafras River bridge closure extends a year and includes a mass mailing, public meeting and extensive coordination with federal, state and local agencies. SHA worked with local emergency management agencies to develop an Incident Action Plan (IAP) to address police, fire, ambulance and water rescue concerns.

SHA acknowledges the cooperation and support of the partners that helped prepare the IAP, including: representatives from the Kent County Office of Emergency Services; Cecil County Office of Emergency Services; Galena Volunteer Fire Company; Cecilton Volunteer Fire Company; Maryland State Police; Maryland Natural Resources Police; Kent County Fire Chief’s Association; Maryland Emergency Management Agency; Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Service Systems and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Cleaning and painting will be performed under a $1.2 million contract awarded to Titan Industrial Services of Baltimore. The contract covers both the Sassafras River Bridge and the MD 370 (Unionville Road) Bridge over Miles River in Talbot County. Work on the Miles River Bridge took three weeks and was completed on-time in July.  Covington Machine and Welding of Annapolis will repair the hydraulics on the Sassafras River Bridge. 

The Sassafras River drawbridge opens 3,500 times each year, and more than 5,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. The posted detour for roadway traffic is:


• Northbound 213 traffic will use MD 290 (Galena-Sassafras Road) north at the

MD 213/MD 290 intersection in Galena

• Turn left onto US 301 north and continue into Delaware

• Turn left onto DE 299 (Warwick Rd.) and continue back into Maryland where DE 299 becomes MD 282 (Cecilton-Warwick Rd.)

• Continue along MD 282 west to the end of the detour at the MD 282/MD 213 intersection in Cecilton


• Southbound MD 213 traffic will use MD 282 east at the MD 213/MD 282 intersection in Cecilton

• Continue along MD 282 across the Delaware state line where MD 282 becomes DE 299

• Turn right onto US 301 south, re-enter Maryland and exit at MD 290 south

• Continue along MD 290 south to the end of the detour at the MD 290/MD 213 intersection in Galena