(Bel Air, MD) – – The Harford County Department of Public Works has announced that the historic Watervale Road Bridge will be closed this week and will be replaced with a two lane bridge in the near future. The bridge will be closed to traffic beginning Wednesday, August 12 at 10:00 a.m.
Engineers determined the bridge needed to be replaced after an inspection of the bridge revealed a deterioration of the bridge deck. The bridge will be removed and will be used elsewhere in the county in as a pedestrian bridge, thus maintaining the historical significance of the structure which is believed to be over 100 years old.
The current bridge will be replaced with a one-lane temporary bridge which will re-open in approximately 90 days. Work to replace the temporary bridge with a permanent two-lane bridge is anticipated to begin in 2011.
Those who normally use the Watervale Road Bridge for travel between Bel Air and Fallston should consider an alternate means of travel beginning this Wednesday.
For further information contact the Department of Public Works at 410-638-3509.
I heard the bridge is going to be moved to the Havre De Grace Lockhouse Museum and span over the lock.
I am sure Dick Slutzky and all of his developer buddies are glad to see the bridge go. Now this historic bridge will be taken down and a concrete one will take its place. Not only will more traffic be on the bridge when it re opens but it’s another piece in the puzzle to allow more developement in the Bel Air , Fallston area.
John Collins says
I live close to the bridge and there is nothing wrong with this bridge, It could have been restored and left alone. There is not that much traffic coming thru there. and as far as i am concerned there is a concrete wall sticking out on carrs mill from the old mill that gets run into all the time and if someone hits that thing head on it is going to kill them, but I guess that does not matter. Someone is going to profit off of the bridge versus someone getting killed
As one of the bridge committee members we tried to convince the county to keep the bridge one lane but they are very resistent to that idea. The traffic on Watervale increased when the county paved the road several years ago but the numbers are not published to my knowledge.
A two way bridge is going to increase that traffic even more causing delays and eventually a widening of Watervale Rd. at Rt 152. Add to that the now proposed Red Pump Elementary School and the traffic will easily double. Soon there will be a wait to leave your driveway and when it gets real bad, here come the speed humps. This is the natural progression that we will be faced with.
Write your councilman now to voice your opinion. The new bridge has not been designed yet. There is still some time.
The bridge should not be rebuilt. The volume of cars on Watervale Road has gone up 90% since the temp. bridge was built. Many residents would gladly trade the small detour for Watervale Road to
be returned to a neighborhood street. I would never run, walk, allow my children to play or ride a bike on Watervale Road. It is a 25 mph road that constantly has cars going by at NASCAR speeds. There are no businesses on Watervale and there is no need to put in a two lane bridge all so people Northwest of Fallston can have a short-cut to Mountain Road to access I95.
Phil Dirt says
So how much extra in property taxes do you think the local residents should pay in exchange for having a bridge that limits the traffic? Do you drive over the bridge but want to stop others? Maybe a gate with electronic passcards for locals only would help? Would you like to be stopped from driving through neighborhoods where those intruders into your area live?
This is a public roadway, and there are minimum dimensions required for public bridges and roads. If people wish to restrict the public from traveling on a road, the alternative is to band together and buy it, making it a private road.
Watervale road is not even considered a secondary road and is not intended to be a funnel for Forest Hill and Bel Air traffic to 152. Carrs Mill road is. We will do whatever we can to keep our neighborhood as rural as possible including keeping a one lane bridge to reduce traffic. If the two lane goes in I will garantee you the speed humps will be installed within two years. So let’s save all the wasted tax money and leave things as they are.
Phil Dirt says
If you want a bridge, it needs to meet safety standards, and to do that, it needs to be a certain size. Nobody wants more traffic, but rules are rules. Did you complain about the “wasted tax money” when the traffic light was installed?
Maybe the best solution would be to remove the bridge?
We did not want a new bridge, the county engineers told us we were getting it. If they don’t advance projects they don’t have a job. That’s how government works. We wanted a wooden bridge with a fifty year life span(calculated) but the county wants a two lane concrete bridge with a one hundred year life span(calculated).The bridge only needs to be wide enough and strong enough to handle emergency equipment. The original bridge IS one hundred years old.
I didn’t want the traffic light and I would be thrilled with no bridge(but that’s not going to happen).
Phil Dirt says
If the old bridge was determined to be unsafe by the people who determine these things, it must be rebuilt or closed, and if rebuilt, it must be done to meet certain standards. Could a wooden bridge with a fifty year life span meet all applicable county, state and/or federal requirements?
Yes actually. There was one built three years ago on Macphail Woods Crossing off of Macphail Road into a retirement community. It is a long two lane bridge that was paved over with asphalt after it was built. The county knew about that bridge but wasn’t interested in going that route. They love concrete and steel.
Phil Dirt says
So would you be happy with a bridge like that one, which is two lanes wide? I thought the biggest concern was the potential increase in traffic. I don’t believe that a one-lane bridge would meet the requirements, regardless of the construction materials.