Drivers should expect major delays starting next week if they travel over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as a two-year deck rehabilitation project gets underway.
Starting Sept. 24, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) said it will stop two-way traffic operations — where one eastbound lane is directed onto westbound span for three eastbound lanes.
The westbound span will close at 9 p.m. and reopen at 5 a.m. During that time, two-way traffic will operate on the eastbound span, limiting eastbound and westbound travel to one lane in each direction.
“During overnight closures of the westbound span, crews will re-stripe the three lanes allowing jersey barriers to be installed next to the right lane, creating a safe work zone for crews,” MDTA said in a news release.
The plan, as it stands now, will have the westbound right lane closed 24/7 beginning Sept. 30 through April 16, 2020.
With these closures, the two-way travel operations will be discontinued except in the case of emergency and during the Thanksgiving holiday.
The work scheduled is to replace the bridge deck in that right lane and replace the overhead metal traffic signal gantries that tell drivers which lanes to use.
Workers will erect concrete barriers, which will reduce the width of the remaining westbound lanes.
The work is intended to extend the life of the bridge deck by 15 to 20 years.
“The project will not only replace the bridge deck surface of the westbound right lane, but also make deck repairs, seal the bridge deck and replace existing lane-use signal gantries and steel rail posts. The work is being performed by Wagman Heavy Civil Inc.,” said a news release from the transportation authority.
There will still be overnight closures for maintenance and inspections. The weekday only closures are expected to resume again in the spring.
All lanes are expected to be open in time for the 2020 summer travel season.
Listen to WTOP Traffic for updates on all traffic matters and call 1-877-BAYSPAN for the latest on the bridge.
WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this report.