Log Jam Temporarily Closes Bridge, Roadway Now Reopened Near Fort Meade

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A log jam temporarily closed this bridge on Maryland Route 198 last Wednesday. The Anne Arundel County bridge, which crosses the Little Patuxent River on Laurel Fort Meade Road, reopened this weekend. The bridge is shown here in July 2022. (Google Maps)

LAUREL, MD - An Anne Arundel County bridge reopened this weekend after a log jam damaged the approach roadway last week. 

Crews repaired the road, which connects Laurel and Fort Meade, and the bridge reopened ahead of schedule.

The bridge crosses the Little Patuxent River on Maryland Route 198, also known as Laurel Fort Meade Road, between Tipton Airport and several softball fields. 

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration said the bridge closed last Wednesday. Officials thought the repairs could've taken two weeks, but they actually took four days.

Crews discovered that the log jam forced water to rush underneath the roadway. This eroded the soil and caused a washout.

Rod Thornton, deputy director of the State Highway Administration, told WMAR that the bridge was never in danger of collapsing. He said the washout, however, required immediate action.

"By having the logs pile upstream against the piers and the edges of the stream bank you basically create a dam. Water seeks its way through and what it does is actually erodes all the material in the stream bed underneath that log pile," Thornton told WMAR.

The repairs finished early, and officials announced the bridge's reopening on Saturday.

Laurel Fort Meade Road has one lane in each direction at the bridge. The thoroughfare connects Maryland Route 32 and the Baltimore Washington Parkway.

The closure detoured commuters, especially those driving to Fort Meade and the National Security Agency.

To see photos from the washout and hear from those affected by the closure, read WMAR's full story. An aerial shot of the log jam is viewable in this WUSA 9 article.

This map shows where the bridge is located.

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