Area Drivers May Use Signed Detour; Plan for Extra Travel Time

(May 4, 2016) – Beginning Monday, May 9, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) will temporarily close the westbound I-70 ramp to southbound US 522 in Hancock, Washington County each night.  Crews will close the ramp between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. the following morning.  The closures will last one week and the ramp will be open during the day for motorists.

This closure is necessary as part of the reconstruction of the westbound I-70 Bridge over the US 522 ramp. A marked detour will direct motorists to continue on westbound I-70, merge onto I-68 westbound to the MD 144 interchange (exit 77.)  Drivers will then merge onto eastbound I-68 and travel to southbound US 522. The detour is approximately five miles long.

Work is underway to rehabilitate the steel girder bridge. Crews will replace the deteriorated concrete bridge deck (riding surface) of the bridge; remove and replace deteriorated steel beams; replace the walls of the bridge (parapets); repair concrete supports; clean and paint structural steel; and pave the roadway.  SHA awarded the $4.8 million project to Concrete General Inc. of Gaithersburg, MD. Work will be complete by summer 2017, weather permitting.

Originally constructed in 1963, the bridge is safe for the traveling public, but the roadway surface is nearing the end of its useful service life. These improvements ensure that the bridge is able to carry legal weight vehicles, particularly trucks traveling east toward Hagerstown and Baltimore.

The rehabilitated bridge will provide slightly wider shoulders to improve safety. Rehabilitating the bridge at this time will save money on future maintenance spending and support safety and mobility as part of SHA’s bridge system preservation program.

While SHA and its transportation 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 and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.  Slow down and don’t follow too closely. Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands.

A complete listing of current roadway projects is included in e-Road Ready 2016, the online brochure. Maryland drivers can also know before they go by calling 511 or visiting www.md511.org for live traffic updates, including construction delays and lane closures. Those who have questions about SHA projects in Washington County may call the SHA District 6 Office at 301-729-8400, toll-free at 1-800-760-7138 or send email to shadistrict6@sha.state.md.us.