The $65.4 million Dover Bridge Project along MD 331 on the Eastern Shore replaced a historic swing bridge that, when opened for river traffic, rerouted drivers up to 45 minutes out of their way. These openings impacted residents’ mobility and could delay emergency responders. The new bridge completed a full year ahead of schedule, has two 12-foot-wide lanes and two 8-foot-wide shoulders. The 50-foot-high, fixed-span bridge allows marine vessels to pass without impeding motorists. The original bridge has been retained as a community fishing pier.
To obtain permits in the environmentally sensitive area, MDOT agreed to maintain the existing swing bridge in operable condition, although remaining primarily in the open position. The new alignment allowed a portion of the existing approach roadway to be converted to visitor parking with a trail to the historic existing bridge, while also providing river access for kayakers. A temporary trestle bridge was used to elevate all construction activities above the environmentally sensitive river and wetlands. On the west river approach, access to the existing bridge tender house was provided via a gravel road that passed under the bridge and connected to driveways on either side of MD 331. This access allows farm equipment to move between the fields on both sides of MD 331 without interfering with through traffic. The new bridge allows unimpeded roadway and marine access, eliminating unanticipated traffic stops due to marine traffic or swing bridge mechanical breakdowns. The new bridge improves economic opportunities for residential and commercial development.