ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge will be renamed after Charles County Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton. Standing at the base of the 77-year-old bridge, Governor Hogan joined Senator Middleton, Delegate Sally Jameson, and Maryland Transportation Secretary and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Chairman Pete K. Rahn for a ceremony to unveil the new signage and officially name the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge.
“I cannot think of a more fitting tribute to a gentleman and a leader who has dedicated so much of his life to this county, to our great state, and to serving others than renaming this the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial/Senator Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge,” said Governor Hogan. “On behalf of all the grateful Marylanders, I want to sincerely thank Senator Middleton for his decades of dedicated service to the people of Charles County and to the State of Maryland.”
During the 2018 Legislative Session, a law sponsored by Delegate Jameson was passed that would rename the Nice Bridge after the Senator. Senator Middleton has been a public servant since 1976, when he entered the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Charles County Planning Commission from 1978 to 1985 and served in various roles in Charles County until 1995, when he became a Maryland Senator. Senator Middleton served his last term in office during Session 2018 as the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee.
As part of this event, the governor announced that the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the new $765 million bridge was issued today, officially starting the contractor procurement process. Only the most qualified teams that successfully respond to the RFQ will be included in the subsequent Request for Proposals solicitation process next year. The MDTA anticipates starting construction in 2020 and opening a new, wider, and safer bridge in 2023.
The MDTA will bring $45 million in construction management contracts to the Maryland Board of Public Works for approval on Oct. 31. The contracts will allow the MDTA to get construction management and inspection services for the new bridge.
“By right-sizing the bridge design, we’re able to deliver an affordable new bridge and do it years sooner,” said Transportation Secretary and MDTA Chairman Rahn.
Since taking office, the Hogan administration has been committed to building a new, wider, and safer bridge. On Nov. 21, 2016, Governor Hogan announced $765 million in funding to construct a new Potomac River crossing, replacing the Nice Bridge. Without the new bridge, the existing bridge would have required a major rehabilitation project in the next five years. The MDTA has successfully reduced project costs by more than $200 million below early study estimates, making this project more affordable and enabling MDTA to move forward with construction in the near term. The new bridge will be built north of and parallel to the existing 1.7-mile bridge and will include four new lanes for traffic, with two in each direction.
The MDTA is responsible for constructing, managing, operating, and improving the state’s toll facilities. In May 2015, Governor Hogan lowered toll rates in Maryland for the first time 50 years. Since then, Marylanders have saved $186 million in tolls. In May 2018, Governor Hogan eliminated the $7.50 E-ZPass Maryland transponder fee. Since then, 73,000 new E-ZPass accounts have opened and 86,000 free transponders have been provided to customers.