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County Comment: Summer Road Update & Etc.

CUTLINE: Contractor crews complete West Oak Ridge Drive paving project.

County Comment
Summer Road Update & Etc.
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer
Washington County, Maryland

As summer begins to wind down, activity on road repair projects continues in Washington County.
East Oak Ridge Drive is closed due to the rehabilitation of the historic stone arch bridge in Funkstown, from Oak Ridge Place to North Westside Avenue, for approximately 150 days.
Detours have been posted to reroute traffic on Frederick Street, East Wilson Boulevard, and South Potomac Street; and a map of that detour has been posted at the Washington County web page,
Built in 1833, the Funkstown bridge it is one of 22 such historic structures that span the Antietam Creek, Conococheague Creek and their tributaries.
The bridges are on the national register of historic places and are subject to federal and state laws, which require periodic inspection and repair.
Paving, patching and rehabilitation of roadways included a portion of East Oak Ridge Drive, from Route 65 to Route 632. That portion of the paving project has been completed.
The Mount Aetna Drive/U.S. 40 Intersection project continues, and motorists should be prepared for temporary lane closings in that area as the intersection is improved.
On Tuesday, August 19th, Director of Public Works Joe Kroboth received Board of County Commissioners approval to issue an emergency Request for Proposals for repair of several hundred feet of sewer line along Virginia Avenue/U.S. 11, in danger of collapse. The contractor performing sewer repair work when a sinkhole opened on Virginia Avenue at the Massey Boulevard intersection last spring noted the problem. In the course of that project, the need for replacement of the sewer line in the area was observed.
Kroboth said the estimated cost for the repair is in the $300,000 to $500,000 range. Funds for such emergencies are budgeted in a sewer contingency fund.
The need for that emergency request arose because of impending repair of the railroad crossing at Bower Avenue, and the State Highway Administration's plans to repave U.S. 11 from I-81 to Noland Drive within the next several weeks, Kroboth said.
Realignment of the Smithsburg High/Middle School traffic pattern was completed in time for school opening on August 20th, Kroboth reported. The bids for the drainage project on San-Mar Road and for repair to the pedestrian bridge at Devil's Backbone Park have been opened and were to be brought before the Commissioners for approval this week.
Also in that meeting, Sheriff Doug Mullendore, Kroboth and Commissioners' President John Barr discussed an ongoing problem with tractor-trailers causing traffic backups at a truck stop at Maryland Route 63 at French Lane, near I-70. Trucks coming off the interstate entering the truck stop are parking along both sides of French Lane, and backing up onto the I-70 off-ramp.
Mullendore said that issuing citations to the truckers does not seem to have much effect, since the fine for first-time parking violations is only $25.00. The County Attorney's office will look into that issue.

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