MD 51 sign

MD 51 sign)

​(September 28, 2020) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has begun rehabilitating the MD 51 (Oldtown Road) bridge over the C&O Canal Towpath in Allegany County. As part of this $3.9 million project, crews will replace the bridge’s concrete riding surface and repair its steel truss and bridge supports. The project is expected to be complete by fall of 2021.

“This is part of our ongoing commitment to maintaining our infrastructure, particularly our bridges,” MDOT Administrator Tim Smith said. “MD 51 is the primary travel route between Maryland and West Virginia and we want to ensure good mobility between states with long lasting infrastructure.”

MDOT SHA crews have switched two-way traffic to the northbound lane of MD 51 while crews work on the southbound lane. This will be in effect until the spring, which is when traffic will switch to the southbound lane so work can continue on the northbound deck. Carl Belt, Inc of Cumberland is the contractor.

MD 51 Looking East
​(MDOTSHA photo: MD 51 Looking East)

The MD 51 bridge was constructed in 1932 and is structurally safe but is showing signs of wear and tear. During the switch, traffic will be maintained in a single lane with the use of a system of temporary traffic signals to alternate traffic through the work zone. Variable message signs will be used to alert motorists of the lane closures. Access to the trails and park surrounding the bridge will be maintained during construction. Learn more about the project here.

MDOT SHA works hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones for our crews as well as our customers. Drivers need to stay alert, focus on driving and, look for reduced speed limits, as well as other pattern changes. Drive like you work here and slowdown in construction zones.

For a list of all major MDOT SHA projects, vist our Project Portal. For a look at real-time traffic conditions, go to


Editor’s note:  From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders.  MDOT SHA maintains more than 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland’s 23 counties.