After a long process that has tried the patience of drivers and officials alike, cars could be driving across the bridges of Monocacy Boulevard at the end of the month.
The project is expected to be substantially completed and open to traffic in late October, although the City of Frederick is still awaiting final confirmation from the contractor, Washington, D.C.-based Milani Construction, Tracy Coleman, deputy director of public works for engineering and operations for the city, said Thursday.
Crews have done about two-thirds of the base paving on the project, with the rest scheduled to be done next week, she said.
“It’s always exciting to see paving be installed,” Coleman said.
More minor work still to be done includes having a subcontractor put in conduits for streetlights, and work on a shared use path.
The project involves widening about 3,550 feet of the road to a four-lane arterial road, adding a new traffic signal at Monocacy Boulevard and Gas House Pike and constructing a second bridge adjacent to the existing one over the Monocacy River.
The stretch of road was supposed to reopen in April, but by May, city officials were hoping for an opening in late July or early August.
In August, the city announced that there was no solid date for when the project would open, citing “issues” between them and Milani.
With that history in mind, Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor said Thursday that he won’t be satisfied until the project is complete.
“We’re not going to let up on the gas now,” he said.
O’Connor said the city doesn’t have many projects on the horizon that will pose the challenges that the Monocacy Boulevard has.
The city has two other projects, at Opossumtown Pike and Christophers Crossing and at Butterfly Lane and Himes Avenue, that seem to be going very well, he said.
But he expects the city to look at contracts going forward to make sure the enforcement measures are as robust as possible.
“I’ve not seen a project quite like this one in my time,” O’Connor said.
The project created a challenge from its earliest stages.
It had to be rebid in 2016 after the first round of three bids all came in substantially higher than the anticipated cost of $16.7 million.
The second round of bids ranged from Milani’s $21.8 million to $24.5 million from another company.
In March 2017, work had to be temporarily halted after the city was alerted that an archaeological assessment for part of the site hadn’t been conducted.