The City of Cumberland has received completed construction cost estimates and design alternatives for the Baltimore Street bridge as well as the Cumberland Street bridge. The Wilson T. Ballard Company (WTB), consulting engineers that specialize in bridge repair and construction, was retained by the City to provide preliminary engineering services regarding bridge replacements. WTB has since recommended the complete replacement of the super structure and the sub structure of the Cumberland Street bridge using pre-stressed concrete components for an estimated cost of $3 million.
WTB further recommended the replacement of the super structure on the Baltimore Street bridge while proposing to make repairs to the sub structure after further testing. The estimated cost for the Baltimore Street bridge repairs is $1,715,000. Similar to the Cumberland Street bridge, a pre-stressed concrete design was also recommended by WTB.
According to City Administrator Jeff Rhodes, plans for replacing the Baltimore Street bridge will continue through design and approval phases in 2018 and 2019 with construction planned for 2020. “We are fortunate that both estimates combined fall below what Allegany County has offered to provide through Federal bridge funding,” said Rhodes. “We are hopeful that we can continue to partner with Allegany County in replacing these bridges, though we will need further cooperation by CSX Corporation if we are to make the needed improvements to the Cumberland Street bridge.” added Rhodes. The Cumberland, Fayette, and Washington Street bridges are owned by CSX Corporation.
The City of Cumberland Engineering Department has ruled out a number of alternatives to potentially replace the Washington Street bridge, which also would take additional cooperation from CSX. “Unfortunately, our Engineering Department has not identified a realistic design that satisfies CSX while also providing a suitable alternative to the City and its residents,” Rhodes stated. The City is working around a difficult set of parameters set by CSX that would require a significant increase in track clearance. The increase in track clearance can only be achieved by raising the level of the Washington Street bridge surface, which would significantly impact the neighborhood because of the need to install large retaining walls to support the raised roadbed.
The City and its consulting engineers have continued to work on the bridge replacements over the last several months. “While work on the bridges is not publicly discussed every day, work is continuing behind the scenes on a daily basis,” added City Engineer John DiFonzo. “We continue to work towards improving our bridges but these projects take a great deal of time to design and a significant amount of funding to construct.”
The City plans to continue to try and resolve the Cumberland, Fayette, and Washington Street bridge issues with CSX. “The City is moving forward with the replacement of the Baltimore Street bridge, which is owned by the City,” noted Mayor Brian Grim. “However, improvements to the Cumberland, Fayette and Washington Street bridges that are owned by CSX will require reasonable cooperation from CSX and we continue to work towards resolving those differences,” said Grim.
Questions regarding this matter may be addressed to the City Administrator’s office at 301-759-6424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.