Bridge over Big Elk Creek

The bridge over Big Elk Creek, also known as Route 273, will be closed Wednesday night as contractors start setting steel beams for the bridge.

FAIR HILL — Drivers that travel Maryland Route 273 (Telegraph Road) will once again need to find a detour on Wednesday night since the State Highway Administration will be closing it for more construction.

Contractor Allan Myers will start setting the new steel beams to replace the bridge over Big Elk Creek in the one-night closure.

“This is a nice milestone because it means that the work is moving above the ground,” Robert Rager, SHA spokesman, said in an email. “From here you’ll see things move along fairly quickly as we construct the deck for the first part of the new bridge.”

SHA will close the road starting at 7 p.m. on Nov. 20 and will reopen at 5 a.m. on Nov. 21.

The official detour around the closure follows Appleton Road to Fletchwood Road, to Elkton-Newark Road to Singerly Road. However, that may not be the shortest route for people who know the area.

The $6.6 million construction project started in January, after SHA deemed the bridge structurally safe but nearing the end of its service life last year. The bridge was built in 1964, and in recent years pieces of concrete fell from the structure.

Most of the summer was spent drilling and pouring micropiles — small concrete columns that run in the ground — to support the main beams, which in turn support the bridge’s surface. Last month, the SHA closed the bridge entirely for one night so contractors could demolish the piers.

“All the work we’ve done up to this point has been on or in the ground, with excavation, demolition, form work,” Rager said. “A lot of work goes into a project like this but the public really doesn’t see the progress until those first beams are set.”

On Wednesday night, Allan Myers contractors will set two main concrete beams to support the bridge deck, requiring two cares and several hours of preparation.

Once this leg of construction is done, SHA will shift traffic onto the new section and then remove the rest of the old bridge. By late winter construction will move back to the ground, with contractors working on the micropiles and abutments that will support the remainder of the new bridge.

Route 273 traffic was reduced to one lane starting earlier this year, and will stay that way until the project is completed in mid-2020.

With 8,000 vehicles that cross the bridge a day, the SHA advises drivers to factor in additional time for the commute.

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