The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Southern Maryland:
Bridge in Peril

Oct 10, 2022

The Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge in rural Southern Maryland has been in desperate need of major renovation for decades, with officials promising everything and doing nothing.

The Johnson Bridge was built to link and bring economic development to tobacco-growing Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties near the Chesapeake Bay. Unsurprisingly, it is named after Maryland’s slave-owning first governor.

Over a mile long, the bridge was designed with only one lane each way. Two lanes total. No shoulders. Now 33,000 vehicles cross it every day, more than 20 times as many as originally expected. Nearby Patuxent River Naval Air Station and Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant contribute much traffic and the need for safe emergency evacuation. But the nearest alternative bridge is 20 miles away.

The bridge went more than two and a half times over budget when built in the 1970s. After only a decade, engineers reported the bridge did not have enough supporting steel. The underside was patched.

Why wasn’t the bridge’s contractor held accountable?