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District 6 News

4/15/2010I-81 Bridge Over Potomac River Rehabilitation Project
This spring, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) will clean and paint the I-81 bridges over the Potomac River in Washington County.  Both bridges are structurally sound but are in need of preventative maintenance to extend their usable life.
SHA will clean, repaint, and make minor repairs to the steel girders beneath the bridges.  Protective coatings on the structural steel prevent corrosion and are designed to last approximately 30 years.  Routine maintenance reduces the likelihood of additional repairs in the future and ensures the longevity of the structures.
These bridges serve as a vital connection between Maryland and West Virginia.  The I-81 corridor through Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania is a major transportation route used by the trucking industry.  Roughly 34% of the overall traffic on I-81 in Maryland is truck traffic. 
SHA rigorously inspects state bridges at least once every two years.  The existing steel coatings contain lead, therefore SHA will take precautions to ensure public safety and prevent lead debris from impacting the environment. 
Crews will install a containment unit prior to removal of the existing coating.  The unit is specially designed to ensure dust or debris generated from cleaning or removing of the coating remains contained.  An inspector trained to remove lead paint will be onsite to monitor removal of the existing coating and the application of the new coating.
During construction, motorists should expect daily shoulder closures on the northbound and southbound I-81 bridges.  Temporary single-lane closures may occur Monday through Saturday between 8:30 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. and Sundays between midnight and 11:30 a.m.  
For additional information about the project please contact Geoff McCammon, SHA's District Community Liaison for Washington County, at 301-624-8131, toll free at 1-800-635-5119, or by e-mail at