Nearly half a year after being shut off to cars for emergency repairs due to concerns about its structural integrity, the the city-owned Warren Road Bridge in Cockeysville has been fixed and reopened, officials said.
Baltimore’s Department of Transportation announced traffic can once again traverse the bridge as of 3 p.m. today, at least a week ahead of schedule. An agency spokesman had previously said it would reopen to traffic sometime in September.
In a release, DOT Director Steve Sharkey and Department of Public Works Director Rudy Chow thanked Baltimore-area residents, businesses and drivers for their patience. The message noted its reopening should “improve commute times for many Baltimore and Harford County residents” in time for the 2019-2020 school year.
Detours were in place since April, when an inspection of the 97-year-old truss bridge found it was structurally compromised and presented “an imminent public safety issue.” Photos from WBAL-TV’s David Collins confirmed why, with evidence of rusted-away beams and fallen metal chunks below.
While it’s located in Baltimore County, the city was tasked with fixing it because it owns the reservoir below as well as the surrounding land. It spent $941,000 on the repairs, funded by sales of water revenue bonds. Repairs by DPW’s chosen contractor, Allied Contractors in Mount Vernon, began May 1.
The Warren Road Bridge is one of only several key crossings to reach areas of northeastern Baltimore County, also including Dulaney Valley Road and Paper Mill Road. Officials offered those roads as detours during the recent repairs, which included replacing 36 support beams and additional repairs to floor beams, according to a May notice from Baltimore County.
The bridge’s days of viability for car travel are numbered; the same advisory from the county noted the city is working on a replacement span, to be completed in 2025. A public meeting on the matter is set for sometime later this year, and plans should be ready for that project by 2021.
The city similarly phased out another truss bridge on Paper Mill Road roughly two decades ago, but left it open to pedestrians. A more modern replacement to carry cars was added next to it.
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