Van Hollen, Cardin, Hoyer Urge MDOT to Halt Demolition of Good Bridge, Examine Leisure Reuse Choices

0
32

July 14, 2022

Lawmakers are calling for an independent study and pausing demolition plans

Today, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (all D-Md.) called on the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to postpone its plans to demolish the existing Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge to suspend independence A review will be conducted to determine the feasibility and cost of a recreational conversion. Lawmakers called for an independent study to ensure this is not a wasted opportunity to offer taxpayers bicycle and pedestrian transport options at a competitive cost, or potentially a lower cost than demolition.

“As work progresses rapidly on the new Harry W. Nice/Thomas ‘Mac’ Middleton Bridge across the Potomac River, we urge the state to reconsider plans to demolish the old bridge and halt all immediate efforts to do so. These plans should not go ahead until a study can be conducted into the feasibility, financial and environmental costs and benefits of converting the old bridge into a non-motorized path that could be used by pedestrians and cyclists,” lawmakers said.

“An independent study conducted by a company with experience in similar bridge conversion projects is in the interest of the taxpayer to ensure we do not miss an opportunity to provide bicycle and pedestrian transport at a competitive cost or potentially at a lower cost than demolition.” They continued. “Premature demolition would waste the opportunity to reuse the bridge when it is in the best interest of the taxpayer and the community. We urge you to perform this basic due diligence before proceeding with the demolition.”

You can read the full letter here and below:

Dear Secretary Ports:

As work progresses rapidly on the new Harry W. Nice/Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge across the Potomac River, we urge the state to reconsider plans to demolish the old bridge and halt all efforts to do so. These plans should not proceed until a study can be conducted into the feasibility, financial and environmental costs and benefits of converting the old bridge into a non-motorized path that could be used by pedestrians and cyclists.

Cost estimates for the demolition, made by the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), ranged from $15 million to $23 million. Given that a new Environmental Analysis (EA) may now be required due to the change in demolition procedure to use explosives that was not part of the original EA, an independent study to identify common facts and costs would allow all parties the opportunity to to consider options for use and ownership of the existing bridge.

An independent study conducted by a company with experience in similar bridge conversion projects is in the interest of the taxpayer to ensure we do not miss an opportunity to provide bicycle and pedestrian transport at a competitive cost or potentially at a lower cost than demolition. This study should include costs, safety and navigational implications, and the potential economic and health benefits of alternative outdoor transportation and recreational uses. Premature demolition would waste the opportunity to reuse the bridge when it is in the best interest of the taxpayer and the community. We strongly encourage you to perform this basic due diligence before proceeding with the demolition.

We would appreciate a response by July 22, 2022 regarding the state’s position and plans to secure an independent study and to pause demolition until that study is published.

sincerely,

Next article Previous article