Study: Most Favor Entirely New Solomons Bridge - Southern Maryland Headline News

Study: Most Favor Entirely New Solomons Bridge

By Guy Leonard, The County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (June 30, 2011)—A strong majority of people who attended public hearings last year on the design of the Gov. Thomas Johnson bridge replacement want a completely new span of four lanes, according to a study from the State Highway Administration, with most of those respondents favoring a height of 70 feet, just half of the current structure’s height.

Representatives from the State Highway Administration (SHA) and the county’s own Department of Public Works and Transportation briefed the Board of County Commissioners on the project that has been in the works for years now and may cost upwards of $1 billion to build.

Zane Rettstatt, project engineer with the county agency, said that among the four options there appeared to be one, clear popular choice.

“It appears most everybody wants the four lane option,” Rettstatt said, acknowledging that the entirely new bridge would also be the most expensive of four options, including one option to keep the current bridge as it is.

“We realize that … but we want to get it right,” Rettstatt said. “It’ll be a long term solution.”

The SHA wants to have the options county leaders prefer in by September, Rettstatt said.

One other alternative would be to keep the existing structure, convert it to a one way bridge with two lanes headed south, with another new parallel span with two northbound only lanes complete with a shoulder and a bike and pedestrian path.

The most popular option would also include similar pedestrian and bike amenities.

County leaders also need to choose a preference for modifications to the intersection of Route 4 and Three Notch Road, the gateway to the Solomons Island bridge.

Options for the major intersection include adding other turn lanes to make traffic flow more continuous or even build an intersection with a flyover from northbound Three Notch Road veering right that connects with Route 4 leading to the bridge.

SHA has plans to turn the section of Route 4 in St. Mary’s into a four-lane roadway with a 30-foot grass median, complete with 10-foot shoulders and room for pedestrians and bicyclists.

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