The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) board has approved a $140-million contract to a team of Kokosing Construction and McLean Contracting to re-deck the westbound span of the heavily traveled Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The authority, announcing the board’s Oct. 27 action, said that major construction on the 4.35-mi. span is expected to begin in the fall of 2023 and officials are aiming for it to be completed in the winter of 2025-2026.

Briefing material for the MDTA board meeting shows that the winning team’s proposed guaranteed maximum price was about $10.5 million below the engineers’ estimate of $150.5 million. [See Tab 4 in briefing material.]

The bridge—officially the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge—consists of two side-by-side spans. The first (now the westbound span) opened in 1952; the second, which carries eastbound traffic, opened in 1973.

MDTA is using a construction manager at-risk approach to the project, advertising a request for proposals in 2019. In June 2021, the authority awarded a contract for preconstruction services for the project to a joint venture of Corman Construction (now Kososing Construction) and McLean. 

Kokosing, of Westerville, Ohio, acquired Annapolis Junction, Md.-based Corman in 2018. McLean Contracting is based in Glen Burnie, Md.

The upcoming project will include replacing the deck floor system, widening some deck truss spans, upgrading barriers, strengthening the truss at selected members and pin-and-hanger structural steel retrofits. The scope also includes replacing overhead signal gantries and some offsite stormwater management work.

The board’s briefing material says that the scope of work includes replacement of about 4,700 linear feet and 163,000 sq ft of deck area

Not surprisingly, authority officials are aiming to keep bridge lane closures as few as possible during the construction period.

Bay bridge traffic volume is heavy—estimated at almost 23 million vehicles in fiscal year 2021. On summer weekends, traffic tends to peak and back up at and near the bridge, as vacationers stream to and from Eastern Shore ocean resorts.

Deck to be Replaced in Sections

William Pines, the authority’s executive director, noted that unlike a 2019 overlay project on the westbound span’s right lane, the new job will involve replacing the deck in sections. Pines said that should avoid having to close the span for 24/7 periods.

Pines says the new deck sections will be precast and fabricated off-site and carried by barges to the jobsite. 

He adds that the team will use marine-based equipment for the deck-replacement work, to keep lane closures for deliveries to a minimum, reducing the impact on traffic. 

The plan calls for closing the eastbound span at night and having its westbound neighbor carry traffic both ways during those periods.

According to the plan, during each overnight shift, crews will remove  at least one deck section and replace it with a new one. Temporary assemblies will secure the openings between the panels, permitting traffic to flow again in the morning on the eastbound span, the authority says. 

Crews working in the daytime will get the next deck section in the series to be removed by the overnight crews.