Emergency fixes for Warren Road Bridge to cost $941,000, should be finished in September

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A nearly century-old bridge spanning part of the Loch Raven Reservoir in Cockeysville will cost $941,000 to repair, according to city spending board documents for this week.

The city-owned viaduct has been shut down to traffic since April, when the Baltimore City Department of Transportation announced it needed emergency fixes. An agenda for Wednesday’s weekly Board of Estimates meeting says an inspection found it “structurally compromised, creating an imminent public safety issue.”

Shots from the site by WBAL-TV’s David Collins at the time of the closure showed eroded metal beams and fallen chunks of rusted metal.

While the truss bridge sits squarely in Baltimore County, the city owns the reservoir beneath it that supplies drinking water to city and county residents, as well as the surrounding land. It was built in 1922 after Baltimore constructed a second dam in the reservoir, which increased water supply levels to accommodate a growing population, according to the Maryland Historical Trust. It’s one of four bridges that cross the body of water.

With emergency authorization from the Department of Finance, the city skipped the process of waiting for spending board approval in the spring and allowed the Department of Public Works to secure a contractor straightaway. DPW chose Mount Vernon-based Allied Contractors for the job.

DOT spokesman German Vigil said the repairs began May 1. Sales of city water revenue bonds are the primary funding source, according to the spending board agenda.

In some welcome news for the county commuters who’ve been using longer routes like Dulaney Valley Road and Paper Mill Road as detours, Vigil said work should be completed in September.

This marks the second time in three years that the bridge has been shut off to cars. In 2016, the city closed it for more than four months so crews could work on its supports after an inspection revealed it was unsafe.

In June, then-DOT Interim Director (and current senior advisor) Frank Murphy told WBAL Radio the bridge’s three spans are being repaired one at a time. He also said design plans are already underway for a replacement bridge.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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