3:04 PM EDT, July 22, 2012
A follow-up: Earlier this year, a reader contacted The Herald-Mail about a bridge just east of 13042 Big Pool Road near Clear Spring. The reader said the same type of bridge, about a mile west on Big Pool Road, was the scene of a fatal crash several years ago, prompting the Maryland State Highway Administration to add guardrails extending from the ends of that bridge.
Who could fix it: Maryland State Highway Administration
What they say: When contacted by The Herald-Mail in April for a response, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar wrote in an email that his agency would look into the reader’s question.
“The engineering should be complete by Memorial Day,” he wrote at the time. “We would be happy to share our results with you as soon as the evaluation is concluded.”
When SHA was asked last week for an update, Heather Keels, an SHA district community liaison for Washington County, wrote:
“SHA traffic staff reviewed the bridge on Md. 56 (Big Pool Road), about 800 feet west of Ashton Road, and recommended improvements including the installation of a guardrail. We are working to get a solution designed and in place as soon as possible. However, the narrow width of this bridge and low height of the existing concrete walls present some design challenges for guardrail attachment.
“One option is to attach a guardrail to the concrete on each side of the existing walls, similar to the rails that were added to another bridge about a mile to the west on Md. 56. However, at 22 inches, the walls here are too low to support a guardrail at the recommended minimum height of 31 inches. Our design team is currently working on how the walls can be modified to support an effective barrier system. If we can engineer a solution, we hope to install a guardrail by late fall. However, if we determine more extensive modifications are needed, such as a bridge replacement, that would take longer to implement.
“In addition to the guardrail, traffic staff are also evaluating the possibility of removing the center line pavement markings across the bridge and installing yield signs to ensure drivers use caution crossing the narrow bridge. If approved, these changes could be implemented this summer.”
— Compiled by Andrew Schotz
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