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Culvert and Bridge Repair


There are currently ten (10) major inventoried bridge structures and eighty-four (85) un-inventoried structures that the Department is responsible for maintaining. These structures are included in our Bridge Inventory Update. As of April 30, 1997 there were no County-maintained "bridges" that were determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places during the State's Historic Highway Bridge Inventory. In addition, there are thousands of minor culvert crossings and driveway entrance culverts that must be inspected. In February 1998, the Highways Division began a database of reported flooding conditions and road closures resulting from excessive runoff. These areas are continuously assessed in-house by the Engineering Division for recommendations on remedial action. The estimated replacement cost for all major structures is calculated by the Engineering Division annually for insurance purposes.


As a part of the mandatory inspection and reporting process, the consultant is required by contract to make immediate, interim and/or maintenance recommendations for replacement, posting and/or repair of structures. These recommendations are forwarded to the Highway Maintenance Division to perform the needed work. Although not required, the Department of Public Works & Transportation retains a certified Bridge Inspections consultant for these services to supplement the mandated biennial inspections. In addition, the State's Office of Bridge Development performs a Compliance Review of the County's Inspection and maintenance program every two (2) years. During the last review it was "determined that St. Mary's bridge inspection program is in substantial compliance with the NBIS requirements.

Road Closures

A listing of roads that are planned for temporary closure as a result of maintenance repairs, construction or weather related activities are forwarded to the media (newspaper and radio), emergency management agencies and posted at our on-line Road Advisory Update. The Public Informational Release describes the road name, approximate location of the work, nature of the activity, duration / hours of closure and includes the respective ADC map designation. The availability of alternate routes are an important consideration in developing a safe and effective traffic control plan.

Navigable Waterway Bridges

Periodically the State Highway Administration forwards a listing of bridges within District 5 that are vulnerable to impact by commercial marine traffic. The purpose of submitting the data is to ensure that all bridges would be easily identified in an emergency situation. At present nineteen (19) such structures have been identified.

Historic Highway Bridge Inventory

As of December 15, 1998 the State Highway Administration (SHA) reported a summary list of bridges that were determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Concrete Arch Structures

  • MD 238 (Maddox Road) over Burroughs Run (built in 1929)

Metal Girders/Beam Structures

  • MD 5 over Eastern Branch (1936)
  • MD 5 over Hilton Run (1935)
  • MD 5 over Church Creek (1936)
  • MD 244 over Poplar Hill Creek (1938)
  • MD 242 over Tomakokin Creek (1936)

Concrete Beam Structures

  • MD 471 over Southeast Creek (1933)

Additional reports for other potentially eligible bridges may be forwarded to the Department of Public Works in the near future. For more information contact the SHA Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering at (410) 545-8504 or the Maryland Historic Trust State Historic Preservation Officer.

Capital Programs

In July 1998, due to the increasing operational costs of replacing and upgrading deteriorated corrugated metal culvert crossings with reinforced concrete pipe, culverts were added to the capital Bridge Replacement Program. Many of the existing pipes at major culvert crossings are failing structurally and/or are inadequate to handle the natural runoff, which results in localized flooding, pavement failure and many potential safety related concerns.


Federal allocations for Bridge Replacement / Rehabilitation are available to local jurisdictions to perform all inspections, ratings / scour evaluation, and mandatory reporting. The State Highway Administration's consultant will perform the work and up to 100% of the incurred costs may be deducted from the County's allocated local government fund balance. In 1998, the Department requested they be included in this Program to more efficiently handle the mandated requirement and to better utilize its operating budget monies. Construction funding is also available if a bridge is found to have a sufficiency rating of less than 80% and meets the additional requirement of being either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

As of March 11, 2008, in order to qualify for federal HBRRP funding, a structure must meet specific conditions that warrant a rating below four or less and must not have rehabilitated within the last ten years. In addition to the above, the bridge sufficiency rating must be 80 or less (for major rehabilitation) or less than 50 (for total replacement) to qualify for HBRRP funding. Regional Letter of Authorization

The Maryland Department of The Environment has authorized the Department of Public Works to perform minor impacts to non-tidal wetlands as a part of Maryland State General Permit (MDSPGP) #99-NT-0485 / 199966772. Under this authorization, a Water Quality Certification #96-WQ-0001R3 was also issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and 9-313 through 323 of the Environmental Article, Annotated Code of Maryland. The current RLOA will remain valid through December 31, 2000. In stream channel construction is prohibited from March 1-June 15 (Use I waterways); October 1 - April 30 (Use III) and from March 1 through May 31 (Use IV). Items that the DPW may perform without submission of an application included all Category I maintenance and repair activities. These activities include:

  • Clearing and grading activities which disturb less than 5,000 square feet of land area and less that 100 cubic yards of material
  • Installation of temporary sediment controls
  • Outlet ditch re-cutting
  • Soils testing
  • Scour protection
  • End-wall repairs
  • In-kind replacements

In conjunction with same, COMAR also authorizes certain types of construction within the 100 year flood plain which eliminates the requirement for issuance of individual permits to the MDE Water Management Administration.