More Intercounty Connector bridges have hairline cracks

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Photo - The Intercounty Connector between Interstate 95 and 270 opened early Tuesday morning, Nov 22, 2011
The Intercounty Connector between Interstate 95 and 270 opened early Tuesday morning, Nov 22, 2011
Local,Maryland,Transportation,Liz Essley

A third set of bridges on the $2.4 billion Intercounty Connector has hairline cracks that need to be repaired, The Washington Examiner has learned.

Three bridges that were built as part of the second leg of the project, also known as Contract B, will need to be repaired.

The news comes after officials announced in March that four bridges in the first section of the highway, Contract A, had hairline cracks because they did not have enough steel inside the concrete "pier caps." The Examiner reported earlier this month that two more bridges in the third section of the highway, Contract C, also had cracks, but the contractor is disputing state inspectors' findings.

In all three cases, state officials stressed that the bridges were still safe to drive on but needed to be repaired so they could have long-term durability.

The latest three cracked bridges carry Longmead Crossing Drive, Layhill Road and Notley Road over the ICC.

The contractor who built the bridges in contracts A and B miscalculated the amount of steel they would need, but has accepted responsibility and will pay for repairs, said Maryland State Highway Administration spokeswoman Valerie Burnette Edgar.

The shoulders of the bridges over Contract B will soon be closed so crews can make the fixes, and MSHA is expected to announce those closures to commuters sometime this week. Repairs on Contract A are almost done.

Any repairs to Contract C must wait until a third-party engineering firm decides whether Maryland officials or the contractor, which has disputed the state's finding that the bridges didn't have enough steel, is correct about the cracks.

About 20,000 cars per day were expected to take the ICC this summer, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The defects were found in routine inspections that state agencies order before they accept responsibility for paying for a highway's upkeep.

"It is a normal process when you're looking at anything that is newly constructed," said Maryland Transportation Authority spokeswoman Kelly Melhem.

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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