A 5-mile section of Md. 77 is expected to be closed through the end of the month as crews work to replace a series of culverts, a continuation of a project that led to a similar closing in the spring.
The work will close portions of Md. 77 between Pryor Road and Stottlemyer Road through Sept. 30, according to the State Highway Administration.
The $2.1 million project is expected to be finished by summer 2020. Culverts are pipes or tunnels built under the road that allow water to flow to help prevent flooding.
Drivers on Md. 77 and coming from U.S. 15 will have to use a detour to Md. 550 and Foxville Deerfield Road.
The work is a continuation of a project that closed the same stretch of road for about three weeks in April and May to repair 47 culverts. The work also led to nighttime closings in June.
The culverts are all between 50 and 60 years old, and are considered to have outlived their useful lives.
As of Monday, crews had replaced 30 of the 47 culverts, said SHA spokeswoman Shantee Felix.
The plan is to replace seven large culverts in September while the road was closed, she said. Since the remaining culverts are smaller, they can likely be finished without closing the road entirely.
The closing is expected to have a minimal impact on Cunningham Falls State Park and Catoctin Mountain Park.
The detour will add time to get to Catoctin Mountain Park’s headquarters and visitors center, but the park will be open for visitors and reservations, park Superintendent Rick Slade said.
Their busy season extends through October, and into mid-November if it stays warm, he said.
Cunningham Falls is in a similar situation, said Ranger Mark Spurrier, the manager for that park and Gambrill State Park.
It was helpful that the stretch of road was closed after a busy Labor Day weekend, Spurrier said in an email Tuesday.
The work will mostly affect visitors coming from Hagerstown and Smithsburg, he said. But the park’s staff has been given several detours to help visitors and campers find the easiest and safest way to the park, he said.
Meanwhile, Spurrier and other park staff have been meeting regularly with SHA staff to keep up to date on the project’s progress, he said.