Raising the Road to Reduce Flooding

Highway to be closed for months 

 By Krista Pfunder 

A portion of MD 261, also known as Bay Avenue, will be closed for months between Anne Arundel and Calvert counties as MDOT SHA works to improve flooding along the roadway. 

The two-lane road that serves as a gateway to the Town of North Beach for about 2,000 vehicles daily, MD 261 will be reconstructed at a cost of $6.3 million. The section of road being reconstructed is located between the Bay and an inland wetland.  

“Over the past three years, we have participated in public forums and submitted questions and any concerns to MDOT, as did our residents,” says North Beach Mayor Mike Benton. “This will help with some of the tidal flooding in that area of our town.” 

A new, wider elevated bridge, approximately two feet higher than the current roadway, will be built, and culverts and inlets will be replaced to remedy frequent flooding. 

The state is using the reconstruction as an opportunity to improve more than simply the drainage along the roadway. “This project will improve walkability and access to North Beach,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith. 

ADA-compliant sidewalks will be installed between 8th and 9th Street in North Beach. “The road will be wider which should allow a safer pedestrian travel area,” Benton says. 

MD 261 will be closed north of 9th Street in North Beach for approximately 20 weeks as bridge abutments and wing walls are built. Crews are working on the roadway between 8th Street in Calvert County and Beach Avenue in Anne Arundel County. 

A detour will direct traffic to MD 261 (Bay Avenue/Walnut Avenue/Friendship Road), MD 2 (Solomons Island Road) and MD 260 (Chesapeake Beach Road). 

The work is being performed by Rustler Construction of Upper Marlboro and is expected to be fully completed by summer 2021.