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$463M MD Bridge to Begin Construction

Monday, March 16, 2020

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Expected to begin this month, joint venture made up of Skanska (Stockholm, Sweden), Corman Kokosing Construction Co. (Annapolis Junction, Maryland) and McLean Contracting Co. (Glen Burnie, Maryland) will break ground on the construction of the new Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge in Newburg, Maryland.

The project is slated to cost $463 million.

About the Bridge

Carrying US 301 over the Potomac River, connecting Maryland and Virginia, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reports that the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge is the second oldest of its seven facilities.

Prior to the construction of the bridge, the site was reportedly used as a ferry terminal.

Originally called the Potomac River Bridge, the structure opened on Dec. 15, 1940, after roughly two years of construction. The cost of the project at the time was $5 million. The bridge features two lanes which run 1.7-miles-long (2.2.-miles-long when including the entire facility and approaches), with a vertical clearance of 135 feet.

According to MDTA, the bridge came about after former Gov. Nice approved the Maryland Primary Bridge Program in 1937, which called for bridges over the Potomac, Susquehanna and Patapsco Rivers, as well as the Chesapeake Bay. Because of his administration to plan and build the infrastructure, the bridge was later given its current name in April 1968 to honor Nice.

The bridge is reported to see 18,000 vehicles daily and roughly 6.8 million vehicles per year.

About the Project

Starting in November 2019, the MDTA board approved a $463 million design-build contract for the Skanska-Corman-McLean (SCM) Joint Venture to design and build new US 301 infrastructure to replace the bridge.

"One of the main benefits it brings is huge time savings," Wade Watson, Project Director and Vice President of Operations for Skanska USA Civil said regarding the use of a design-build contract.

"On a typical design-bid-build the owner would have to go out and price the project and negotiate a contract after it's been designed. With design-build you can be designing at the same time you're building."

The project will also involve the demolition of the existing bridge. In conducting best practices, materials from the demolished bridge will be recycled to create an artificial fish reef. Additionally, MDTA and the joint venture are partnering with the Potomac River Fisheries Commission and Maryland Department of Natural Resources to fund oyster seeding in the lower Potomac River basin.

The replacement bridge project has been reportedly pushed by the Hogan Administration, with MDTA adding that the project is one of the state’s largest transportation initiatives and is expected to improve mobility, safety and economic opportunities for southern Maryland, northeastern Virginia and the surrounding region.

The state of Virginia will reportedly contribute $13 million toward the project.

Regarding the design of the bridge, the new infrastructure will feature a four-lane span which will align with the existing roadway approaches in Maryland and Virginia. Each lane is slated to be 12 feet wide, complete with 2-foot-wide shoulders. The design doubles the capacity of the old structure and ensures that safety is improved, along with the enhancement of emergency responses, maintenance and inspection activities.

The height of the new span is also expected to accommodate tall vessels and will have all-electronic (cashless) tolling services.

Although MDTA wished to have a separated bicycle and pedestrian path included in the bridge’s design, the $64 million additional costs and limited daily use, the board chose instead to use its funds for a project along the I-95 corridor. However, for practical access, the new bridge will include various bicycle-friendly roadway joints, additional lighting and signage.

During construction, the project is expected to create more than 500 jobs and is expected to reach completion by 2023. The bridge is designed to have a 100-year service life.


Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Contractors; Contracts; Design build; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Upcoming projects

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