Welcome to the newly renovated Patapsco River Bridge, if you’re driving eastbound, that is.
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) plans to shift eastbound traffic on US Route 40 onto the rehabilitated bridge after almost two years of construction, which saw the construction of a temporary bridge.
Weather permitting, eastbound traffic will be shifted from the temporary bridge to the reconstructed, original bridge on Wednesday, Dec. 19 between 9 a.m. and 3p.m., according to a statement.
Drivers should expect temporary lane closures and lane shifts, but once the switchover is complete, the westbound side of Route 40 will be open to two lanes.
On Thursday, Dec. 27, westbound traffic will be shifted onto its side of the reconstructed bridge. However, westbound traffic will be reduced to just one lane so that crews have room to dismantle the temporary bridges, according to the SHA. The second westbound lane is scheduled to reopen in the late spring of 2013.
The 40 mph work zone speed limit will remain in place until the project is complete.
The state highway department recommends that drivers plan for extra travel time for the next four-to-six months and suggests that drivers traveling from I-695 who are heading to the western end of Ellicott City use I-70 to reach US Route 29 and Route 40.
For two years, crews have been working on an $18 million project to rehabilitate and partially reconstruct the 76-year-old bridge, according to SHA. The work included reconstructing the 335-foot bridge from the arches upward, including replacing the deteriorated bridge deck supports.
For more information about the project, visit the SHA's Patapsco River Bridge project page online.