[This post has been updated to reflect new date for traffic shift.]
The lengthy project to rebuild a heavily used bridge over the Capital Beltway in Silver Spring has reached a milestone, and drivers will notice.
The westbound side of the University Boulevard bridge is done, the Maryland State Highway Administration announced. The two-way traffic, which had been confined to the other half of the bridge, will now shift to the rebuilt portion so the second half of the construction can begin.
While the $9.6 million project that began in spring 2013 has been somewhat disruptive for drivers and pedestrians on this major commuter route, it has not created the extensive traffic backups that many people feared during the planning stages. Those concerns included the potential for extensive congestion on detour routes and at the Beltway ramps.
Yet this remains one of the major road projects on the Maryland side of the D.C. region. The entire job is scheduled to be done in late summer 2016.
During overnight work this week, the contractor is preparing to shift the traffic to the finished part of the bridge. The shift should occur by
5 a.m. Friday, June 26 5 a.m. Monday, June 29. As the shift is occurring overnight Sunday into Monday, Maryland state police temporarily stop traffic on University Boulevard and possibly on the Beltway beneath.
The prep work also involves putting down new pavement markings on the approaches to the bridge at Williamsburg and Indian Spring drives and the realigning of the traffic signal at the exit ramp from the outer loop to University Boulevard.