Judge gives go-ahead for Maryland to demolish old Nice-Middleton Bridge

The original Nice-Middleton Bridge (left) and the replacement span (right) in August, as seen...
The original Nice-Middleton Bridge (left) and the replacement span (right) in August, as seen from a Maryland Transportation Authority flyover. The new bridge opens Wednesday.(Photo via Virginia Mercury)
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 12:28 PM EDT
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A coalition of cycling groups has fallen short in their efforts to block the state from dismantling the old Nice-Middleton Bridge that spans the Potomac between Virginia and southern Maryland.

A federal judge in Baltimore said late Tuesday that the organizations failed to meet the high legal threshold for blocking demolition, which lawyers for the state said will begin later this week.

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and other dignitaries are scheduled to open the new span Wednesday morning.

During a three-hour court hearing, the lawyer hired by the cycling coalition said leaving the original Nice-Middleton Bridge in place would preserve the opportunity to use it for recreation. When Hogan announced plans to replace the 1940s-era bridge, he pledged to include a dedicated bike/pedestrian lane on the new span. Those plans were later dropped in a cost-cutting move.

In testimony before U.S. District Court Judge Deborah Boardman, former Virginia state Del. David Brickley, a leading advocate for the groups, said a restraining order would allow more time for citizens and local officials to pursue their options.

“When the old Nice Bridge is destroyed, it’s destroyed forever,” he said. “There is no re-do when Maryland unexpectedly blows up the bridge two days from now.”

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NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news...
NBC12 is a partner with The Virginia Mercury, an independent, nonprofit online news organization covering state government and policy.(Virginia Mercury)