The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is set to begin a multi-million dollar project to revamp the Interstate-70/Interstate-81 interchange in Washington County.
Officials said the 53-year-old steel girder bridge is safe, but the driving surface, or bridge deck, of westbound I-70 over I-81 has outlived its useful life, and is being replaced. Its one of 69 bridges across the state that have been deemed structurally-deficient.
The contractor for the $9.2 million project, Triton Construction, Inc., will remove and replace the existing bridge deck, repair and paint the structural steel, rehabilitate the existing piers and abutments and replace underpass lighting.
Officials said three travel lanes will be open to drivers throughout the project, which starts in April. But even so, about 62,000 motorists use the bridge every day – so you should expect heavy traffic in the area around rush hour. Plus, there will be lane closures, lane shifts, narrow travel lanes and shorter merge areas from I-81.
There will also be a speed camera in the work zone, starting next year.
“If you’re driving over both surfaces, you can tell they’re both in pretty rough shape,” said Stephen Bucy, assistant district engineer for construction. “The state keeps up with patching them, but it’s a lot of work to keep up with it. It is in the design phase to also do the 70 eastbound [bridge deck] over I-81.”
The first phase, which includes replacing the bridge decks over both westbound I-70 and the ramps that feed onto I-81, is expected to be complete by the summer of 2019.