County Comment: County Road Projects Bloom in Spring
Photo Cap: Open for Business: The new Boonsboro Branch of the Washington County Free Library opened to the Public on Tuesday, April 1st.
County Road Projects Bloom in Spring
by Norman Bassett, Public Information Officer Washington County, Maryland
Spring in Washington County means new blooms, green grass, and road repairs.
Late March-early April is traditionally the start of construction season for County departments, meaning that those potholes made worse by winter weather will be repaired.
Washington County Public Works Director Joe Kroboth recently talked about the projects that will restart this spring.
"The Pavement Maintenance program is an investment of approximately 5 million dollars each fiscal year," Kroboth said, "to preserve the highway system that we have in place."
Many citizens don't understand the condition of the system as a whole, and only see the roads in their particular area of the County. "We have an inventory of all the roads, they are evaluated for their current condition," he said," and they are placed in a priority system to determine how to best allocate that $5 million each year. We know that's not enough to pave all the roads that need to be paved, so we look at the system as a whole and try to determine where best to spend the money."
There are several types of repair treatments used including crack sealing, chip sealing, hot mix asphalt overlay, standard patching, and in worst cases, full depth reclamation.
Using the different methods the County traditionally has been able to repair 24-28 miles each year. Last year, the introduction of the chip seal or "tar and chip" process meant that for the same dollar investment, the County was able to repair almost 80 miles of roads under County maintenance.
Kroboth said 60 to 80 miles of road will be impacted in fiscal year 2009, using the same application. Chip seal is limited to those rural County roads that handle less than 2,000 vehicles per day, and the application is not used in subdivisions.
"Big ticket" items restarting this spring include the Edgewood Drive/U.S. 40 (Dual Highway) intersection, a joint project between the County, the State of Maryland and the City of Hagerstown. The State Highway Administration has received the bids and construction could get underway in late spring or early summer, Kroboth said.
"The County also recently advertised and received bids for intersection improvements at the Dual Highway and Mount Aetna Road, and that work includes constructing a double left turn lane from Dual Highway onto Mount Aetna road to increase capacity at that location," Kroboth said, " then installation of an additional lane from Dual Highway out to Yale Drive."
The Maugans Avenue project is continuing, with paving expected to begin within weeks and the completion expected in late October of this year.
The Public Safety Communications system continues as one of the most important projects in the County. Tower construction is coming to a close at the Elliott Parkway site, where building renovations continue for the new 9-1-1 dispatch center. Other sites at Quirak Mountain, Fairview Mountain and Sandy Hook are expected to see construction work this year.
The Central Booking Facility project will also come on line this year, Kroboth said, with a portion of the Detention Center renovated to house that operation, which will allow all law enforcement agencies to bring suspects to one location for booking and processing. A $2.2 million project, the center will be advertised for bids this spring, Kroboth said.
Other Public Works projects this year include security improvements at the Court House, and a replacement roof at the Court House annex.