Hatem Bridge reopens after water main break forced closure

An estimated 27,000 cars cross over the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge each day, but not on this day.

"We came down 222 to Route 40 and realized we couldn't get across the bridge," said Marilyn Bennett of Perryville.

The Maryland Transportation Authority closed down the westbound lanes over the Susquehanna River after an underground pipe burst beneath Route 40 in Havre de Grace.

"The water was bubbling up in the middle of the road and that's when we decided to shut the main down... find the valve and shut the main down," said Crew Chief Jay Shipley of the Havre de Grace Water Department.

Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne Dougherty says a 50-degree shift in the temperature within the last week, coupled with heavy rains from Superstorm Sandy caused some shifting in the ground, which breached an eight-inch water main.

"There was about an inch and a half to three inch hole in one of the old lines.  Where they found the break was in the bottom," said Dougherty, "So evidently over the years it has been working and working and working and then got to this point."

Workers cut out a section of the pipe and replaced it, while traffic was diverted to Interstate 95 and Route 1.

"It was just the inconvenience of having to come 95 to Havre de Grace and get off way up on the hill and come into town," said Bennett.

Locals travelling from Perryville to Havre de Grace say the detour only cost them about 10 minutes, and Mayor Dougherty says even though it impacted the morning commute, motorists seemed to take it in stride.

"I haven't had any complaints, so no complaints, I figure everything's okay."

Workers completed their work Friday afternoon and the road has been re-opened well in advance of the evening commute.

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