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New paint for Bay Bridge means lane closures for drivers

Monday - 3/19/2012, 5:22am  ET

baybridge640.jpg
The westbound span of the Bay Bridge is getting a $20 million makeover. For the first time in decades, that portion of the bridge is slated to be cleaned and repainted. (AP)

WASHINGTON - Get ready for more lane closures on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

The westbound span of the Bay Bridge is getting a $20 million makeover. For the first time in decades, that portion of the bridge is slated to be cleaned and repainted.

The bridge has not been fully painted since it opened in 1973.

Most of the work will be performed from the water via barges, however, it will require scaffolding along the twin bridge towers, says Kelly Melhem, spokesperson for the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The work will force late-night closures on the westbound side for six to eight weeks.

"We will have have two-way traffic on the eastbound span, which means one lane in each direction during that time frame," she says.

Melham adds the the traffic disruptions may fluctuate.

"The specific days and times of the closures will depend on such things as traffic volume, if there is inclement weather, as well holiday periods. But obviously do plan to do it most nights of the week," she says.

This is part of a four phase project which will cost around $90 million, funded by toll dollars.

Later this month, the roadways before the toll booths will be repaved, causing more traffic disruptions.

The entire painting project is expected to be completed by Fall 2013.

WTOP's Jamie Forzato contributed to this story. Follow WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)