Hess Road bridge replacement to be modified, public input sought

Harford County's Public Works Department is moving forward with plans to replace only parts of the Hess Road Bridge over the Little Gunpowder Falls in the Monkton area, county officials said.

The county will soon be seeking public input on the project, which is now set to cost only $300,000, much less than the $1.5 million to $2 million originally proposed, Deputy Public Works Director Hudson Myers said Monday.

The bridge is on the Harford and Baltimore county border and the two counties share costs for it and for other Little Gunpowder bridges.

A June 20 letter sent to area residents from Jeff Stratmeyer, Harford County's chief highways engineer, said after meeting with consultant Wallace Montgomery and Associates, LLP, the county, together with Baltimore County, decided to "move forward with a single lane bridge on the existing, modified abutments."

Myers explained the bridge alignment – that is, the road – would stay the same.

According to the letter, "due to the very poor condition of the existing superstructure, the existing bridge will not be repaired and both counties are recommending a completely new superstructure for the abutments."

Myers said a meeting will be scheduled after the two counties decide what type of structure will be used on the new span.

"One of the options is to go toward a prefabricated steel bridge," he said.

At the public meeting, officials will share different possibilities with the public.

Myers said he does not expect the project to be a major one, as it is not necessary to buy any rights-of-way.

"We are optimistic that we can put this in place relatively quickly," he said.

The construction is expected to take about a year.

The bridge was closed in March to allow for testing of the substructure.

A public hearing was originally held in October 2011, when Stratmeyer said the new bridge was expected to cost $1.5 million to $2 million, with design work starting this year.

The reconstruction cost will be evenly split between Harford and Baltimore counties, but managed by Harford County because Baltimore County is taking the lead in work on another bridge over Little Gunpowder Falls: Jericho Road Bridge in Joppa, set for major renovations next year.

For more information, contact the Department of Public Works at 410-638-3509, ext. 1375.

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