Work on Tydings Bridge foundation begins
The Maryland Transportation Authority has begun construction work on a $43 million project to shore up the foundation of the nearly 50-year-old Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge on Interstate 95, where the flow of the Susquehanna River has eroded the piers that support the span.
The work on the bridge, part of the toll stretch of I-95 called the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, is not expected to have a serious impact on bridge and boat traffic. The authority will rehabilitate the 10 of the bridge's 13 piers that stand in the water, subjecting them to a form of damage known as "scour" caused by the river's currents.
The work is expected to be completed by late 2013, according to the authority. The project is financed by revenue from the state's toll facilities. No lane closings as a result of the work are anticipated.
The authority said in 2009 that its inspectors had found "advanced deterioration" in the underwater structures that support the Tydings Bridge and the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge, which spans the Susquehanna just downstream from I-95 on U.S. 40.
The two projects have been in the engineering phase since then. The cost of the Hatem Bridge project, which is expected to enter the construction phase by spring 2012, is estimated at $54 million. That was approximately the original estimate on the Tydings Bridge project, but the authority said construction costs had been cut by $11.5 million once the actual bids came in.
The construction will involve placing coffer dams around each of the underwater piers and pumping out water to expose the structures. Crews will then build a reinforced concrete encasement around the existing piers.