New Bridge over Fishing Creek Accommodates Pedestrian and Marine Life in Chesapeake Beach
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Administrator Gregory Slater was joined by Town of Chesapeake Beach Mayor Patrick Mahoney in Calvert County for a ribbon cutting to commemorate the completion of the new MD 261 (Bayside Road) bridge over Fishing Creek.
The new bridge offers a wider, safer bridge for travelers. The original bridge, constructed in 1940, was one of 69 previously identified by the Hogan Administration’s Investment in Highways and Bridges in 2015. MD 261 serves as the main route into Chesapeake Beach and serves motorists, pedestrians and cyclists across the bridge as well as marine vessels traveling below.
“We recognize the growth in tourism and economic development that Chesapeake Beach has seen in recent years and are excited to deliver a bridge that will benefit all travelers – motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists,” said Administrator Slater. “The bridge will continue to support the town and all it has to offer, while promoting safety and accessibility for tourists and local residents alike.”
Construction began on the $27.9 million project in Fall 2014. Crews increased the width of the bridge to include wider 12-ft. lanes and added a left-turn southbound lane onto Mears Avenue, 5-ft. ADA-compliant sidewalks, and 5-ft. bicycle-compatible shoulders. The bridge also is 4 ft. higher and provides more under clearance for marine vessels. The contractor, GA & FC Wagman, Inc. of York, Pa., opened the bridge to traffic in June and currently is completing landscaping within the area.
“Fishing Creek is the economic engine that drives the Twin Beaches and Northern Calvert County. With over 6,000 recreational boaters accessing the Town of Chesapeake Beach public boat ramps, the new bridge provides improved safe distances within the channel. Traffic to our shopping center, restaurants, resort, public library and recreational facilities will be a smoother, safer and quicker ride for local families as well as visitors,” said Chesapeake Beach Mayor Pat Mahoney. “The bridge’s pedestrian pavement is a major addition to the Town’s goal of being a ‘walkable community’ connecting citizens to the Town’s center. We appreciate the State’s partnership in navigating a challenging project and bringing such an improvement to the Town of Chesapeake Beach.”
Currently, the average daily traffic across the bridge is more than 16,000 vehicles per day and is projected to increase to more than 27,000 vehicles by 2040. MDOT SHA also announced an upcoming sidewalk project along MD 260 (Chesapeake Beach Road) between Cox Road and MD 261 to upgrade ADA intersection ramps; this work will be complete by the end of September.