Emittsburg bridge

The Md. 140, East Main Street bridge expansion project began in October 2016 and had an original completion date of summer 2018. Officials hope the work on project, which includes the bridge widening, sidewalks and stormwater infrastructure, is completed by the end of the year.

On Monday morning, more than a handful of employees for Milani Construction continued work on a bridge replacement project on a stretch of road in Emmitsburg used by more than 5,000 motorists daily.

The project, which began in October 2016, had a original completion date of summer 2018, according to a news release from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA).

But now, officials hope the work on Md. 140 — which includes the bridge, sidewalks and stormwater infrastructure — is completed by the end of the year.

The project, located on the eastern end of town near the Jubilee Foods supermarket, has been a main topic of interest for Emmitsburg residents and officials during the past few years. Commissioner Tim O’Donnell was, at times, frank when local SHA officials provided an update on the project at a town meeting earlier this month.

“This has been a disaster for our community in many ways,” O’Donnell said. “We have gotten such horrible feedback about this ... it’s been a burden on our community that I feel wasn’t necessary.”

After the meeting, O’Donnell said that although bad weather and other factors have delayed the project, the timeframe has been discouraging.

“It brings a lot of negative attention,” he said. “It’s hard to be constantly told the delivery date is being pushed back ... I’m no expert on bridges, but common sense would seem to dictate the amount of time this is taking is excessive.”

John Concannon, the district engineer for SHA District 7, which includes Frederick County, said his office “shares the frustration” with residents and officials at the delays.

He said last year’s record rainfall, backorders and changes to material orders for the project and overall staffing challenges for Milani are some reasons for the multiple delays.

He added there are possible monetary penalties Milani could face because of the delay after the project is completed. But he didn’t know specifically what those were, and Concannon could not be reached for comment via email or phone Monday.

A representative for SHA and Milani Construction at the site Monday morning deferred comment to spokespeople. A representative for Milani did not respond to an email for comment Monday.

Milani, a construction company based in Washington, D.C., is also the contractor working on the Monocacy Boulevard Bridge replacement in Frederick, another project that has been delayed. According to their website, the Emmitsburg bridge project was scheduled to be completed in Fall 2018.

The brick replacement bridge has been built, but traffic is only open to two lanes instead of four, as the northern two lanes have not been paved. According to the project page on the SHA’s website, that work is scheduled to begin later this month or in early November.

Gabe Baker, a Jubilee Foods employee, lives close to the bridge being replaced. He said he’s heard multiple reasons for why there have been delays: multiple foremen have led the project, the historic rain last year and workers hit an unanticipated water pipe shortly after the project start date.

Amanda Kolasa, store manager of the Dollar General west of the bridge, said she’s heard the same. But both said it hasn’t disrupted business.

Kolasa believes there have been multiple “internal issues” with Milani, specifically with the number of supervisors who have led the project since its start.

One of the main issues for her store, she said, occurred around last summer when customers were often forced to sit in the store’s parking lot for almost 15 minutes before being able to pull out.

Flagging operations, however, have mostly solved that problem, Kolasa said.

She said Milani’s employees have always been respectful, but that their struggles elsewhere — including in Frederick — have hurt the company’s reputation regarding construction projects.

“We joke about it in town. Because if we have a major job, we’re not calling Milani,” Kolasa said.

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Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(19) comments


I can deal with a little inconvenience for an improvement, It's just that most construction everywhere only gives you a little room on each side, and when someone is coming at you over the line, all you can do is stop and pray you don't get hit.


Total incompetence and corruption in this contractor. They need to be blacklisted from ever doing work in the county again.


We expected Middletown Main Street to be completed this past summer, it was changed to November and now it is June 2020.


I think different contractor, but the bridge on 28 seems to me taking extremely long


Liquidated Damages------Any County or City that puts out a bid for road construction that lacks Liquidated Damages are immature in dealing with the construction industry. Without a dedicated timeline, contractors will put their labor where they are making the most money and let other projects languish. Monocacy Boulevard, Main Street Middletown, Emmittsburg and others are the result of failed policies of the government entities. Construction Companies now know that ab out Frederick County, and use this incompetence to make additional profit at the expense of citizens misery. STOP IT NOW.


Agreed [thumbup] What's the over/under on the completion date they offer.


Milani appears to me to be ridiculous. Why is our Frederick County government even dealing with these folks?

Emmitsburg is a mess. Downtown Middletown Main Steet is a mess. Myersville Main Street is a mess. All projects WAY behind schedule. The flaggers in all three construction zones seem to hold up traffic for ridiculously long periods of time repeatedly. Construction vehicles are not being staged correctly. Everthing being done in a piecemail approach. I have seen gaggles of workers standing around repeatedly, sometimes six or more watching one guy jackhammer pavement or lay a curb.

What locality in Frederick County is next?


The City of Frederick and SHA need to do a better job with these contracts, they share the blame on the overdue completions. A proper construction contract should have bonuses if it is completed early and penalties if the project extends past a reasonable completion date. Milani is just taking advantage of the bad business contracts the government signed.


Put Liquidated Damages into the contract and the projects will be completed on time.


Milani needs to be blacklisted from any public bridge project in the future. They can't seem to handle it.


They can simply change their name


I think the SHA and local politicians would get wind of that pretty quickly.


They can get all the wind they want. It doesn’t change anything. The way to deal with incompetent contractors is to back charge them for each day they are delayed. And to require a performance bond.


[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup] kelly!


Fine, I'll shut up now.


The Monocacy and Emmitsburg bridge projects along with the Jefferson and Middletown Streetscaping projects are all a big joke, as far as completion dates are concerned.

A new bridge over Rte 15 at Ballenger began about a month ago. And they are rockin' in out...with pillars ready to be poured. I'm willing to bet that it will be completed before any of the other projects mentioned, except for Monocacy...maybe.


Agree. Be interesting to see contract terms. Suspect major penalty clause. Suspect focus politic & major business interest also factors.


Liquidated Damages is a contractual clause that states a completion date and prior agreed upon penalties for failure to meet these dates before the contract is executed. Back charges are fought in court. NO ONE can appeal liquidated damages, unless mother nature intervenes in a disastrous way.


Is that being done by Milani?

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