MD 51 sign

MD 51 sign

​$12.8 Million Project Results in Improved Safety and Mobility 

(December 22, 2022) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has completed a project to improve the MD 51 (Oldtown Road) bridge over the C&O Canal in Oldtown, Allegany County. The bridge was originally built in 1932, and the bridge deck surface was nearing the end of its service life. 

The $12.8 million project included replacing the bridge deck, repairing structural steel, cleaning and painting all structural steel, resurfacing the approaches to the bridge and constructing a stormwater management facility. A temporary towpath with a pedestrian protection structure was put in place to maintain safe travel on the C&O Canal during construction. 

“The MD 51 bridge is an important link for the community and an asset for those who travel through this beautiful part of Maryland,” said MDOT Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. “We’re grateful for our collaboration with the community and local officials as we worked on these improvements, and we’re excited to deliver a project that will serve the area for decades to come.” ​​

MD 51 bridge replacement

MD 51 (Oldtown Road) bridge over the C&O Canal in Oldtown, Allegany County 

The project began in February 2020. MDOT SHA contractor Carl Belt Inc., of Cumberland, performed the work to address structural needs and preserve and extend the service life of the structure. 

“Having a transportation corridor that’s safe and well maintained is the backbone of a thriving community,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith. “MD 51 functions as a primary route for traffic traveling between West Virginia and Maryland. Rehabilitating the bridge will save money on future maintenance, and support safety and mobility as a part of MDOT SHA’s goal of keeping Maryland's transportation system in a good state of repair.”  

For more information on this project, visit the MD 51 bridge deck replacement project page

Maryland’s Move Over Law requires motorists to make a lane change or slow down when approaching any stopped, standing or parked vehicle displaying hazard warning lights, road flares or other caution signals. The expanded law is in place to protect emergency responders and motorists who encounter a roadside emergency. 

For a list of all major MDOT SHA projects, go to Project Portal. Visit our homepage at road​​ryl​ For a look at real-time traffic conditions, go to​

Editor’s Note

From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders.  MDOT SHA maintains more than 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland’s 23 counties.