Beginning in early summer, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) will begin a new $3.6 million project to rehabilitate the US 1 (Belair Road) Bridge over the Gunpowder Falls and the trail tunnel underneath US 1 within the Gunpowder Falls State Park – Central Area.
The existing Belair Road Bridge over the Gunpowder Falls (also known as the “Big” Gunpowder Falls) is a corrugated metal pipe arch bridge. The arched trail tunnel underneath US 1 north of the Gunpowder Falls is a metal pipe arch underpass. While the US 1 and the trail tunnel are safe for travel, MDOT SHA will make repairs to reinforce and preserve the service life of these structures.
MDOT SHA’s bridge rehabilitation project will provide a concrete liner around the inside circumference of each of the pipe water openings. Inside the trail tunnel, a smaller metal pipe will be placed inside the existing pipe, and the gap between the new and existing pipes will be filled with grout.
MDOT SHA has coordinated with the Department of Natural Resources on this project. To minimize impacts to park visitors, the project will be completed in two stages.
The driveway to the Gunpowder Lodge Restaurant and the MDOT SHA Park and Ride lot along southbound US 1 will be open at all times. Motorists can expect single lane closures on US 1 between Miller Road and Sheradale Drive during off-peak hours. Within the State Park, only the trail system west of US 1 will be inaccessible from the State Park parking lot during the first stage of the project. Due to construction staging, parking will be reduced at the main State Park parking area along northbound US 1 during both stages of construction.
Stage 1: early summer– winter 2020:
Beginning early June 2019, the contractor will close part of the State Park parking lot along northbound US 1. The State Park parking lot along northbound US 1 just north of the bridge will remain open during construction; however, approximately 30 parking spaces on the right side of the lot will be closed for use by the contractor for staging. State Park visitors will be able to use the auxiliary parking lot, and the trails east of US 1 will remain open to park visitors.
On June 17, the trails and trail tunnel along US 1 over the Gunpowder Falls and the tunnel crossing underneath will be closed for approximately seven months.
Stage 2: winter 2020 – fall 2020 (project completion):
The trails along northbound and southbound US 1 over the Gunpowder Falls and the tunnel crossing underneath US 1 will re-open to park visitors, with access to these trails permitted from the auxiliary parking lot. Bridge work will continue for approximately nine months, and the contractor will install protective debris shields on the two trails over the Gunpowder Falls to enhance park visitor safety. Approximately 30 parking spaces on the main parking lot will remain closed for use by the contractor for its equipment and material staging. State Park visitors will be able to use the auxiliary parking area, and the trails east of US 1 will remain open.
The project also includes enhancements to the State Park, such as stabilization of the connector pathway from the main State Park parking lot to the trail tunnel, and stabilization of the trails. These improvements include placement of brick and gravel to reduce the amount of water and mud that builds up on the trails during rainstorms. Other improvements to the State Park include replacement of two parking lot gates and re-staining the existing timber traffic barriers in the parking lots.
“While I wish there had been better notification, the improvements seem necessary for bridges that are now over three decades old,”said Councilman David Marks. “Gunpowder Falls State Park is a local treasure and we are lucky to have thousands of acres of protected land in our backyard.”
MDOT SHA’s contractor is Marine Technologies, Inc. of Baltimore. Click here for more information on the project or view the graphics below…