Two Md. DOT SHA bridge projects receive transportation awards

The new Dover Bridge sits next to the old bridge. Screenshot from YouTube video.The new Dover Bridge sits next to the old bridge. Screenshot from YouTube video.

Two Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) projects received 2019 America’s Transportation Awards — the Dover Bridge won in the Quality of Life/Community Development, Medium Project category; and a project to increase capacity on the Severn River Bridge won in the Operations Excellence, Small Project category.

“Under Governor Larry Hogan’s leadership, MDOT is boldly rebuilding transportation infrastructure throughout the state and delivering meaningful projects to our customers,” said MDOT Secretary Pete K. Rahn in a press release.

The $65.4 million Dover Bridge Project along MD 331 on the Eastern Shore replaced an historic swing bridge that, when open for river traffic, rerouted drivers up to 45 minutes out of their way. The bridge openings not only impacted residents’ mobility, but delay emergency responders. The new bridge, completed a full year ahead of schedule, has two 12-foot-wide lanes and two 8-foot-wide shoulders. The 50-foot-high, fixed-span bridge allows marine vessels to pass without impeding motorists. The old bridge has been retained as a community fishing pier.

The $22.8 million project on the Severn River Bridge (U.S. 50) helped reduce traffic congestion in the eastbound direction, which was often made worsd by traffic headed to the beach during the summer. Using the existing bridge footprint, MDOT SHA increased capacity from three 12-foot eastbound lanes, three 12-foot westbound lanes and a 3-foot median to four 11-foot eastbound lanes, three 11-foot westbound lanes and a 2-foot median.

“Our MDOT SHA bridge and operations teams took the Severn River Bridge challenge, met it head-on, and found an innovative solution to deliver value to our customers — with dramatically reduced cost and construction impacts,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater in the press release. “The improved Severn River Bridge reduces congestion and improves reliability in the Annapolis area for daily commuters and summer beach traffic.”

The America’s Transportation Awards competition is sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Socrata, AAA, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. This year, 39 state transportation departments participated in the competition, nominating 81 projects. As regional winners, the MDOT SHA projects will be considered for the competition’s Top 12, which will be announced in August.