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March 16, 2023

Trone delivers money for bridge replacement

Credit: Cumberland Times News

CUMBERLAND — Although the city’s West Side has “more bridges to conquer,” U.S. Rep. David Trone said he was pleased to deliver help for a much needed project.

Trone was at the Fayette Street bridge Wednesday to present a $4.8 million check to the city of Cumberland.

The federal funding will replace the two-lane bridge, located above CSX railroad tracks, that suffered damage from a train strike in 2018.

Folks at the check presentation included Cumberland’s mayor and City Council, city staffers and representatives from the offices of U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.

“We have great partners,” Trone said. “This is a wonderful thing.”

Bridge background
In January 2020, CSX repaired the structure enough to allow for one lane of traffic.

To pursue federal funding for a new bridge, and eliminate any question of CSX’s interest in the structure, the city last year signed a quitclaim deed for $1 and became the bridge’s owner.

In September, Trone said the $4.8 million in funding was included in the federal government’s 2023 budget.

City officials bought and razed buildings on both sides of the bridge to allow for the construction project, which could begin late next year and will meet federal guidelines.

Working together
Cumberland Mayor Ray Morriss said he appreciated the work Trone and his staff dedicated to secure funding for the new bridge.

“It’s a major thoroughfare through the West Side,” Morriss said.

Former downtown manager Ed Mullaney, of Let’s Beautify Cumberland!, thanked Trone for his frequent visits and attention to the area.

“I see everybody working together,” he said. “I’m ecstatic.”

Other bridges
Mullaney also talked of the need to replace the Washington Street bridge, which was closed in 2017 after it was hit by a train.

Chris Stevens, president of the Washington Street Association, said he was pleased to see funding for the Fayette Street bridge.

“We’ve been advocating for the Washington Street bridge as well,” he said of the Historic District overpass.

He talked of a bridge in Garrett County that faced similar repair problems as the Washington Street structure due to height restrictions.

“And they found a way to make it work,” Stevens said.

Separately, the city’s Cumberland Street bridge, also on the West Side, has been closed since it failed a safety inspection in November 2017 and work recently started to replace the the Baltimore Street Bridge.

Other projects
Earlier Wednesday, Trone and Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters toured the Federal Correctional Institution — Cumberland.

“All of our money is going to incarcerate people,” Trone said, touting the importance of education.

He talked of a “second chance” program that would provide training to help former inmates become working members of society.

“Help them get a GED,” Trone said. “It’s all about a job.”