- The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has selected the joint venture team of Skanska, Corman Kokosing Construction and McLean Contracting to design and build a new $463 million bridge over the Potomac River connecting southern Maryland and northeastern Virginia. AECOM is the project's lead designer.
- Construction will begin next month on the 1.9 mile-long, four-lane bridge over U.S. Route 301 that will replace the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas "Mac" Middleton Bridge, which is used by about 18,000 vehicles daily. The 12-foot-wide lanes with 2-foot shoulders will double capacity and improve safety, enhancing emergency response and maintenance/inspection activities, according to MDTA.
- The new bridge, which will be built next to the existing one, will be complete by the end of 2022, after which crews will demolish the old bridge by December 2024, according to Wade Watson, project director and vice president of operations for Skanska USA Civil. The demolished bridge will be used as an artificial reef, a technique Skanska has used on prior bridge projects.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has long been committed to building a new, wider and safer bridge to replace the two-lane Nice/Middleton span, which opened in December 1940 and connects Charles County, Maryland, to King George County, Virginia. According to Wade, the new concrete and steel bridge will have a 100-year service life. The bridge also will include several safety enhancements for bicyclists, including bicycle-friendly roadway joints and intelligent transportation systems tools such as lighting and signage.
The bridge project is one of Maryland's largest transportation initiatives. Virginia will contribute $13 million to the project.
The design-build approach makes sense for a project of this size, Wade told Construction Dive.
"One of the main benefits it brings is huge time savings," he said. "On a typical design-bid-build the owner would have to go out and price the project and negotiate a contract after it's been designed. With design-build you can be designing at the same time you're building."
Once the new bridge and roadway construction are complete, the existing bridge will be demolished and used to create artificial reefs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. These manmade structures mimic some of the characteristics of a natural reef, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and are often composed of construction materials like rocks, cinder blocks, concrete, wood and tires.
The reef approach has been used by Skanska for years, Watson said, most recently on the Pensacola Bay Bridge project in Florida.