The Md. 355 bridge over the Monocacy River could remain closed until February or early March, according to the latest estimates from the State Highway Administration.
“We’re trying to expedite it, but some of the beams were so damaged that, when the engineer got out there to take a look at it, they were unusable,” said Charlie Gischlar, an SHA spokesman. “So what’s happening here is, because that bridge is so old, we don’t have spare parts lying around so the pieces have to fabricated in a shop.”
As of Thursday, the SHA was estimating repairs would take up to 60 days.
The Maryland Department of Transportation closed the bridge early Wednesday afternoon after several of the steel support beams over the bridge were struck by a garbage truck being towed across the deck, according to the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office and a representative from the waste management company.
No injuries resulted from the crash, but debris was left in the road. First responders called the SHA so that an engineer could survey the damage before vehicles were allowed on the bridge again, said Maj. Tim Clarke, a sheriff’s office spokesman.
The garbage truck had become disabled sometime before the crash and was being towed back to a company facility for repairs when the tow truck drove under the bridge, said Lisa Kardell, director of public affairs for Waste Management Inc.
“It was a tow truck driver’s accident,” Kardell said. “It wasn’t our driver who caused the crash. ... Safety is a top priority for the company, and our drivers do a great job out in the community every day.”
The investigation of the crash remained open Thursday morning, but Clarke confirmed that the garbage truck was being towed by a truck from Morton’s Towing & Recovery company when the bridge was damaged.
An employee answering calls at Morton’s Towing & Recovery deferred comment to David Morton when contacted by a Frederick News-Post reporter earlier Thursday. An email to David Morton seeking comment was not immediately returned Thursday.
The exact cost of the repairs remained undetermined as of Thursday afternoon because the parts still needed to be manufactured, Gischlar said.
“I will probably have a better cost estimate hopefully sometime next week,” Gischlar said.
For the time being, detours were in place from Md. 80/Fingerboard Road to northbound Interstate 270 approaching from the south and from Md. 85/Buckeystown Pike to southbound I-270 from the north, according to an SHA news release issued Thursday.
Drivers were advised to allow extra time for their daily commute to account for the detours.
“We’re hoping it’s not impacting people as bad as it could have, but we still understand that a lot of people have to take Maryland 355 on a daily basis. So we want to get it reopened as soon as we can,” Gischlar said.