Public Hearings for Thomas Johnson Bridge Bottleneck Resolution Set for Sept. 28, 29 - Southern Maryland Headline News

Public Hearings for Thomas Johnson Bridge Bottleneck Resolution Set for Sept. 28, 29

CALLAWAY, Md. (Sept. 23, 2010)—Plans to address the traffic logjam imposed by the two-lane Thomas Johnson Bridge, which spans the Patuxent River to connect lower Calvert County to St. Mary's, are moving forward. The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will host two local public hearings to discuss the bridge planning study on September 28 and 29.

Commuter traffic to and from Naval Air Station Patuxent River and supporting contractor facilities often comes to a stand-still due to the high traffic volume. Despite years of advance warning from the U.S. Navy about the large buildup of personnel coming to Pax, local and state politicians did little to address the issue until the problem was pronounced and the critics became very vocal.

The bridge problem is compounded by design flaws which resulted in cracking of the mammoth concrete piers near the top where they meet the steel girders that support the roadway. Massive steel clamps were fitted around the piers to shore them up. The SHA routinely inspects the bridge and assures the public it is safe. However, the visual impact of the retrofitted supports, and public outcries of safety concerns by politicians such as Senator Roy Dyson (D-29), cause many citizens to be concerned about the integrity of the structure.

SHA officials say the bridge project includes evaluating the potential capacity, safety, and traffic operation improvements along the MD 2/4 corridor from Patuxent Point Parkway in Calvert County to MD 235 in St. Mary’s County.

SHA is currently evaluating five different alternatives which include:

-- building a parallel two-lane bridge to augment the existing bridge;

-- building a new 4-lane bridge and subsequently demolishing the existing bridge; and

-- building a new 4-lane bridge from the Naval Recreation Center in Calvert County to the terminus of Patuxent Boulevard in Myrtle Point in St. Mary's County.

The first hearing will be held on Tuesday, September 28, at the Patuxent High School, 12485 Rousby Hall Road, in Lubsy, Calvert County.

The second hearing will be held on Wednesday, September 29, at the Esperanza Middle School, 22790 Maple Road, in Lexington Park, St. Mary's County.

The open houses begins at 5 p.m., followed by a formal presentation at 6:30 p.m. The opportunity for public testimony will follow.

Citizens who signed up by Sept. 22 will be afforded up to three minutes to speak. Testimony may also be provided to a court reporter or sent to SHA in writing.

Complete details about the SHA's progess to date on this project are available on their Web site at .

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