April 19, 2012

Contact:          Kelly Melhem or John Sales


Minimal impacts to local traffic

BALTIMORE, MD - The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) announces a $48 million project to perform foundation and substructure repairs to the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) in Harford and Cecil counties.  This preservation project, funded completely by toll revenue, consists of underwater repairs to 10 concrete piers supporting the Hatem Bridge.

The work zone will be in the Susquehanna River and will have minimal impact to vehicular and navigational traffic.  Minimal daytime traffic impacts are anticipated due to the equipment staging area, located on the 600 block of Water Street in Havre de Grace, and delivery of materials.  No lane closures on US 40 will be required.  Intermittent concrete pours may occur during the night and result in higher than normal levels of noise.  Work sequencing occurs as follows:

Stage 1:

  • Excavation of the river bottom surrounding the piers to remove stone and debris, followed by installation of “cofferdams” around the piers.  A cofferdam is a temporary watertight enclosure that is pumped dry to expose the bridge foundations.  Construction of each cofferdam may take about one month to complete.
  • Removal of earth inside the cofferdam to expose existing bridge foundations. 
  • Concrete placement inside the excavated cofferdam to create a protective layer for the existing “sub” foundation and to form a seal for the bottom of the cofferdam.  The seal will allow the water inside the cofferdam to be pumped out, exposing the foundation of the bridge so that repairs can be made.

Stage 2:

  • Repairing piers inside cofferdams, including removing and replacing deteriorated concrete, reinforcing steel, repairing cracks, strengthening columns and constructing a protective reinforced concrete encasement around the repaired foundations.

Stage 3:

  • Removing the cofferdams and restoring the river bottom to its original condition.

Excavated material will be transported and disposed of at the Maryland Port Administration’s Cox Creek Disposal site.  Environmental restrictions will be in effect between November 1 and April 1 on work that could disturb the river’s bottom.  To the extent possible, the project was designed to minimize the disturbance or loss of submerged aquatic vegetation beds.

This project, anticipated to be complete by fall 2014, is being performed by McLean Contracting Company of Glen Burnie, Md.  A similar project began last fall on the Millard E. Tydings Memorial Bridge on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (Interstate 95).  For information on the MDTA’s other facility preservation projects, or to view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit