Weems Creek Bridge Reopens

       If you’re an Annapolis driver, you’ll be happy to hear that the repair work on the Weems Creek Bridge has been completed two weeks early. If you’re a Maryland taxpayer, you’ll be glad to know the work was finished on budget at $120,000.

        This may be all you want to know. But if you’re an engineer or a gearhead or interested in things mechanical, there’s an interesting backstory here.

        The Weems Creek swing bridge is operated by a pair of massive hydraulic cylinders that are 14 inches thick, 12 feet long and each weigh about 6,000 pounds. These cylinders have a packing system that keeps the oil inside as the ram moves in and out to move the bridge.

       By last summer, the packings were leaking enough oil to cause concern. The prospect of shutting down the bridge in the middle of boating season was unappealing. So the State Highway Administration hired Covington Machine of Annapolis to make temporary repairs.

       Work on a permanent fix started at the new year and is now complete.

Rather than replace the worn cylinders, which have to be custom-made and cost into six figures, Covington was able to refurbish them. Better yet, this will make it faster and cheaper to replace the packings in the future.

     How did they finish two weeks early?

     “Everything worked perfectly,” Brian Covington told Bay Weekly.