Bay Bridge Eastbound Deck Replacement Project
On October 27, 2022, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Board approved a $140 million construction services contract for a portion of Phase 1 of the Eastbound Bay Bridge Deck Replacement project, which is expected to begin major construction in late fall 2023 with anticipated completion in winter 2025/2026. Consistent with MDTA’s 2015 Bay Bridge Life Cycle Cost Analysis, the deck replacement in the deck truss spans is the first phase in a series of projects during the next several decades to maintain safe and working order conditions for the 71-year-old span. The timing of future phases and other projects will depend on available funding and bridge conditions.
Phase 1 of the Eastbound Bay Bridge Deck Replacement project will include the replacement of the deck floor system, barrier upgrades, structural rehabilitation of the steel superstructure, lane use signal gantry replacements and utility relocations, as well as off-site stormwater management work.
The MDTA has designed the project to ensure minimal traffic impacts for residents and motorists by avoiding 24/7 lane closures. The new pre-cast deck sections will be fabricated off-site and barged to the Bay Bridge. Marine-based equipment will be utilized to replace deck panels and minimize the use of lane closures for most deliveries, resulting in reduced traffic impacts.
Once work gets underway late fall 2023, construction on the first section of the eastbound deck replacement is expected to be completed in winter 2025/2026, with additional sections to follow based on available funding and bridge conditions. The first section, on the Eastern Shore side of the eastbound span, is almost one mile of the overall 4.35-mile-long bridge. During construction, the project will utilize off-peak lane closures during the day to get work areas ready to ensure successful night work. The eastbound span will close at night, weather permitting, with two-way traffic in effect on the westbound span. Crews will remove at least one section of the deck and replace it with a new pre-cast section during the same overnight shift. Temporary closure mechanisms will secure the openings between panels, allowing the eastbound span to reopen to traffic each morning. Daytime crews will prepare the next deck section for removal by the overnight crews.
The Eastbound Bay Bridge Deck Replacement project will include replacing the deck floor system, barrier upgrades, structural rehabilitation of the steel superstructure, lane use signal gantry replacements and utility relocations, as well as off-site stormwater management work.
Construction Element Fact Sheets:
- Construction Sequence - Utility Relocation (PDF Download)
- Environmental Stewardship
- Construction Sequence – Structural Rehabilitation of the Steel Superstructure
- Construction Sequence - Deck Fabrication
- Construction Sequence - Deck Replacement
Q: Why is this work being done?
A: The work is being done now to replace the existing bridge deck in the deck truss spans and proactively extend the service life of the existing bridge. The project will improve the overall ride quality and safety of the bridge, while extending the service life for the Eastbound Bay Bridge.
Q: Why does the deck need to be replaced?
A: The previous deck replacements at the Eastbound Bay Bridge took place in the 1970s and 1980s. No major deck work has been performed on the Eastbound Bay Bridge since then. Additionally, ongoing patching and emergency patching operations are extensive. The current project is replacing portions of the bridge deck in the deck truss spans that are most in need of rehabilitation. Comprehensive deck condition studies performed in 2014-2015 indicated that deterioration of the decks of the entire Eastbound Bridge was widespread, and the remaining service life was approximately 10-15 years. The deck replacement in the deck truss spans is necessary now and is the first phase in a series of projects during the next several decades to maintain safe and working order conditions for the 71-year-old span. The timing of future phases and other projects will depend on available funding and bridge conditions.
Q: What work is included in Phase 1?
A: Phase 1 of the Eastbound Bay Bridge Deck Replacement project will focus on the deck truss sections of the bridge and will include replacing the deck floor system, barrier upgrades, structural rehabilitation of the steel superstructure, lane use signal gantry replacements and utility relocations, as well as off-site stormwater management work. Major construction for the first section of Phase 1 will begin in late fall 2023 with anticipated completion in winter 2025/2026. The first section, on the Eastern Shore side of the eastbound span, is almost one mile of the overall 4.35-mile-long bridge. Additional sections (i.e., phases) will follow based on available funding and bridge conditions.
Q: What will be the impact to traffic?
A: The MDTA carefully evaluated the lane closures required to complete the work on the bridge, with a focus on providing a safe work area for the contractor and safe passage for our customers. To have a minimal impact on traffic, the planned replacement of the roadway deck will be accomplished by using overnight full-span closures. Two-way traffic will operate on the westbound span during the full eastbound span closures. The bridge will be open to traffic by the morning peak hours. Temporary, off-peak single-lane closures also will be used to prepare for the overnight deck replacements. It is important to note that the times of these closures will operate within the same time frames used for off-peak closures that have been in place for years for maintenance work, projects and routine inspections that minimize traffic impacts. However, some traffic delays are expected even during off-peak periods, especially during incidents and exceptional travel volume periods.
Q: Will weekday closures be continuous (24/7)?
A: No, weekday single lane closures will be during off-peak hours only. These closures will vary depending on time of year and current traffic volumes. The major work will be performed during overnight full-bridge closures.
Unlike the 2019 Westbound Bay Bridge right lane overlay project, this project will replace the eastbound deck in sections – without the need for 24/7 closures. Off-peak lane closures will be implemented during the day to get work areas ready to ensure successful night work. During those overnight shifts, portions of the bridge deck will be removed, pre-cast deck panels will be installed, and openings between panels will be secured. Lanes will then be reopened in time for morning commuters.
Q: What are the times of lane closures and estimated date/year of completion?
A: The deck panel replacements will begin in late fall 2023, with lanes reopening each day in time for morning commuters. The project is expected to be complete by winter 2025/2026. Temporary single-lane daytime closures will be used throughout the project duration. Overnight closures also will be necessary for the other work, such as utility relocations and structural rehabilitation of the steel superstructure.
Q: What is the MDTA’s plan if there are traffic backups during construction for this project?
A: Congestion occurs in both directions of the Bay Bridge routinely during peak and off-peak periods simply due to the regular high volumes, and even without construction. These delays are unavoidable, so motorists are encouraged to monitor the best times to travel and avoid periods of expected congestion (GO EARLY/STAY LATE). As such, traffic is expected during this project. However, the MDTA also monitors traffic conditions in real-time and makes operational decisions to relieve congestion when permitted and feasible. Contraflow operations are implemented on the Westbound Bridge to support lane closures for construction or maintenance and address heavy traffic volumes or queues, crashes or disabled vehicles, emergencies, and safety and security. Contraflow operations are weather-dependent.
Q: What is the MDTA’s plan if the Bay Bridge is closed due to a crash or disabled vehicle?
A: The MDTA has an established plan and protocol for coordinating all emergency response needed on the bridge and approaches to the bridge. This includes direct lines of communication with emergency responders in Queen Anne’s County, Anne Arundel County, and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA). For any type of emergency closure, the MDTA will enact its Plan of Action to ensure efficient removal of the emergency condition and ensure the safety of our customers. The MDTA encourages motorists to report emergencies and non-emergencies witnessed or experienced at the Bay Bridge. Depending on the timing of the incident, the MDTA will make the bridge safe from any ongoing construction operation prior to reopening any lane that was closed for the ongoing work. This means that residual traffic may be present while the necessary construction operation is completed. Motorists should anticipate delays during incidents such as crashes and disabled vehicles. For an emergency, dial 911. For non-emergencies or to report a disabled vehicle, dial #77. Have your passenger make this call, make a hands-free call or pull over to a safe place to use the phone if you are alone.
Q: How can drivers get the most up-to-date, real-time information about Bay Bridge traffic?
A: For Bay Bridge traffic information, call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) or visit baybridge.com. To sign up for email/text alerts or to view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov. For updates on major incidents, follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.
Q: Will this work impact other Bay Bridge and roadway approach construction projects?
A: This project was developed in conjunction with the other ongoing and planned construction projects in the area. Specific requirements for coordination between projects are included in the contract, and we have established regular coordination meetings between all contractors working in the vicinity of the bridge.
Q: Where can I learn more about updates on this project?
A: Please visit this project website and watch the livestreamed quarterly Bay Bridge Reconstruction Advisory Group (BBRAG) meetings at https://mdta.maryland.gov/Meeting_Schedules/BBRAG_Meeting_Schedule.html for project updates.
- Crane Arrival at Bay Bridge Signals Advance Work for First Section of Multi-Year Eastbound Deck Replacement 03-07-202 (News Release)
- MDTA Board Approves Contract for Eastbound Bay Bridge Deck Replacement 10-27-2022 (News Release)
Keeping Boaters Safe
Recreational and commercial mariners are strongly advised to adhere to the following guidelines:
- Use caution when transiting the area and observe 6-knot speed limit from 1000 feet north and south of the bridge to create MINIMAL WAKE and maintain safety around the construction area.
- The shipping channel remains open within the main span of the bridges during construction operations. Sign up for mariner alerts to receive details and updates.
- Stay clear of all overhead work and maintain a safe distance of 300 feet from all construction equipment and support vessels at all times.
- No unauthorized vessels are allowed in the safety zone surrounding construction barge mooring locations.
For an emergency, dial 911.
For non-emergency issues or to report a disabled vehicle, dial #77.
Contacting the Maryland Transportation Authority
Via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Via phone from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays: 410-537-1000
For real time traffic information, call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726).