Ocean City Today

Kelley bridge repairs mean week of nighttime closings

One cracked beam causes SHA to reinforce all others in preparation for season
By Brian Gilliland | Apr 12, 2018
Photo by: File photo

(April 13, 2018) The State Highway Administration will bring in the reinforcements, for the Route 50 bridge structure, that is, as it schedules a series nighttime bridge closures for some preventative maintenance.

Last week, the SHA performed some repairs on bridge and in that process discovered a crack in one of the approach span beams.

“We found a crack in one of the beams, and that weekend there was the threat of snow in the area,” Charlie Gischlar, SHA spokesman said.

If it had snowed, a snowplow crossing the bridge might have damaged the beam further, because of the weight, he said.

“We evaluated all 18 beams that support the bridge, and because they’re all about the same age, and it’s the same repair, we just decided we were going to reinforce all of the beams,” he said.

There are nine beams on each side, and each beam will be reinforced with a steel wrapper, adding strength and resiliency to the support. Gischlar said measurements were taken during the initial visit, and the supports are being manufactured now.

Starting Sunday, the bridge will be closed from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. through Friday and traffic will be diverted to Route 90.

Two crews working concurrently, one on each side of the bridge, will speed up the process and ensure the project is done within a week.

“I’m pretty confident we can be done in a week, we built some time in case of bad weather. Mariners should be able to use the channel normally,” he said.

The repairs should add service life to the beams, Gischlar said.

The repairs are being undertaken now, he explained, to ensure the bridge is in proper working order during the summer.

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