They will be part of a bridge to carry Watkins Mill Rd. over the highway.
Gaithersburg, Md (KM). Steel beams are expected to be set next summer for a new bridge taking Watkins Mill Road over Interstate 270. State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar says drivers who travel that stretch of I-270 may have noticed piers being erected on the shoulders on both sides of the road and the median . “The piers will hold the superstructure, which are the steel beams ,up; which then hold the bridge deck which is the driving surface,” he says.
Gischlar also says closing that stretch of I-270 may be necessary for this work to take place. “What happens is that we stage traffic and then swing the beam in, secure it and then we can let traffic go, and we can continue that process. It usually takes a week, a week and a half, to get all the beams put up,” he says.
Right now, SHA has not set a specific date for when this part of the project will occur. “It’s a $97.7-million project. It”s huge out there,” he says. “But there will be some of those brief stoppages on I-270.”
The project began last summer, and it extends along I-270 from Route 124 (Montgomery Village Avenue) to the crossing at Great Seneca Creek near Game Preserve Road. The new bridge will carry Watkins Mill Road over I-270, and it will have entry and exit ramps so motorists can get on and off of the interstate highway.
The interchange is expected to be completed by the summer of 2020,and Gischlar says it will make a difference. “It’s not really going to affect the traffic on I-270 at all. But what it’s going to do is significantly help some of other roads, like Maryland 355, which is a major parallel road to I-270, which a lot of the Frederick area folks use to get to and from the Montgomery County area and Frederick, back and forth,” hje says.
It also ease some of the traffic on Route 117 and 124, says Gischlar.
SHA says an average of 167,000 vehicles per day use that stretch of I-270, and that’s projected to grow to 183,000 by 2035. “So it’s very important that we make sure that we maintain that infrastructure there for future growth,” says Gischlar.
By Kevin McManus