QUEENSTOWN –The State Highway Administration has updated detours designed to take northbound Route 301 traffic around the Route 50 bridge construction project in Queenstown.
It is also urging motorists using Route 50 west this fall to avoid the construction zone until late Sunday nights or early Monday mornings if at all possible.
Beginning Sunday night, Oct. 14 at9 p.m.traffic on Route 301 north will be detoured onto Route 50 east to Route 213 north and back onto Route 301 north. That detour will only be in effect during the overnight hours and will end each morning at5 a.m., said SHA spokesman Chuck Gischlar.
Weather permitting, that detour should be in effect for about a week, he said.
It is necessary to close Route 301 north where the Route 50 bridge crosses the highway because of ongoing demolition of the old roadway and deck on the bridge, Gischlar explained. It’s part of a $2.8 million reconstruction of the bridge, which was built in 1950, and includes the removal of the old roadway and construction of a new one, and removal and replacement of steel beams that support the roadway, SHA said.
Detours that had been in effect on Route 301 south in the construction zone for much of the past week ended Friday morning, Gischlar said. There are no other southbound detours planned at this point, but there will likely be some later on as the project goes forward, he said.
One lane of Route 50 west is closed on the bridge while demolition work is underway, leaving a single lane to handle westbound traffic through the area. As a result, major traffic backups developed along Route 50 west the past two Sunday afternoons and evenings because of events taking place inOceanCity,Salisbury, andDover, according to SHA.
“The best way to avoid traffic delays is to completely avoid westbound U.S. 50 through Queenstown Sunday fromnoonuntil10 p.m.,” SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters said in a statement. She noted that there are events every weekend on theEastern Shoreand that motorists should take the construction work into account if they attend them.
“With a little planning ahead, and motorists altering their travel times and routes, everyone can enjoy the events and avoid wasting time in traffic backups,” Peters said.
“In an effort to minimize delays, SHA is asking anyone traveling to theEastern Shoreweekends this fall to consider delaying travel home until late Sunday or early Monday or to use Md. 213 to U.S. 301 to bypass westbound U.S. 50 in Queenstown,” SHA said in its statement.
“This is a tricky spot because it affects two major highways,” Gischlar said. The demolition part of the project is made somewhat easier by use of a special type of truck which sits under the bridge and collects demolition debris without the need to build a containment area, he said.
SHA said it waited until after the heavy summer travel season was over before starting the work and wants to get it completed before next summer’s heavy travel period.
The work is expected to be finished by next May, weather permitting.
Electronic message signs are informing motorists of conditions in the construction zone and information is also available by calling 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or by logging onto www.md511.org