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895 Bridge Construction About To Snarl Traffic For Years

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A multi-million dollar bridge expansion on one of the state's busiest highways could tie up traffic for years. When it's over, the state says a 60-year-old bridge on I-895 will be brand new.

As Gigi Barnett explains, drivers have time to find a detour.

Nearly 70,000 vehicles travel through the Harbor Tunnel every day. All that wear is causing tear over an elevated portion of I-895--so the state is shelling out nearly $300 million to fix it, starting in late 2016.

Along with the construction, comes an early warning: expect commuter congestion.

The elevated highway has several safety problems: rusted steel, pull-off areas aren't safe and concrete piers are still old. It's the last structurally deficient bridge Maryland Transportation Authority has to repair.

"This section of 895 that we call the Canton Viaduct, it will have wider shoulders and it will have a much smoother riding surface because if you do drive that section now, you can definitely tell that deck is in poor shape," said MdTA Spokesman John Sales.

Sales says drivers will be pleased with the new highway, but they've got to drive through years of narrow construction zones first.

"Four of those five years are going to have reduced lanes on 895," Sales said. "That does mean that during off-peak hours or overnight or during the weekend, you could see full closures on 895."

If you drive 895 often, MdTA says find your detours now. Some good options include the Fort McHenry Tunnel and 695.

The construction should end in mid-2021.

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