Residents should prepare for spring repaving projects on several major roads in the county, which will cause daytime road closings and could start as early as this week.
The projects will be part of a $12 million contract for projects in Frederick and Howard counties, in which State Highway Administration crews will resurface and patch roads and replace damaged guardrails.
The Frederick County roads are:
- Md. 75 between Interstate 70 and Jones Road.
- Md. 17 between Brownsville Road and Picnic Woods Road.
- Interstate 70 between the Washington County line and Ridge Road.
- Md. 355 on the approaches to the Monocacy River bridge.
Drivers should expect to see single lanes closed from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., although crews could also work from 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. from Sunday to Friday.
Construction crews will use cones, barrels and flaggers to help traffic move through the work zones.
Crews need consistent 50-degree weather in order to lay the type of asphalt needed for the projects, but work should start sometime this week, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said Monday. The projects should be finished by the end of June.
Asphalt roads usually have an effective lifetime of 15 to 20 years, Gischlar said.
They try to resurface roads as they’re nearing the end of their effective life, but if a road has too many potholes and other problems, it may get moved up in priority, he said.
“Once you start patching patches, that’s when you know it’s time [for the road] to be resurfaced,” he said.
The state has a vehicle that travels around taking measurements and analyzing the quality of roads, and engineers also evaluate roads in each of the agency’s districts each autumn.
The work in Frederick and Howard counties will involve making repairs to the base course of rough aggregate material beneath the roads’ surfaces, as well as removing the top 2 inches of asphalt, replacing it and striping the new road, Gischlar said.
Spring will also mean ongoing work on two long-term projects in the county: streetscape projects in Middletown and Emmitsburg.
The Emmitsburg project should be complete by the summer, Gischlar said.
Workers have recently finished sidewalk, curb and gutter installations along Md. 140 from East North Avenue to Timbermill Road.
They’re currently putting down brick pavers and storm drains, as well as concrete foundations for traffic signals and pedestrian-crossing poles.
The project also involved replacing a bridge on Md. 140 over Flat Run.
The work in downtown Emmitsburg was ahead of schedule before Christmas, but cold weather since then has slowed things down a bit, said Mayor Don Briggs.
The project has connected several newer subdivisions west of town to the town’s sidewalk network that weren’t connected before, Briggs said. He said the town’s sidewalks hadn’t been worked on since the late 1980s.
The disruption of the project has caused a mixed reaction from residents, but most people seem to understand that it comes with the territory, he said.
“It is a construction project. You’ve just got to accept that,” Briggs said.
But he’s excited about what the results will be when the project is finished.
“It will make the town really sparkle,” Briggs said.
Middletown’s project, which will include improvements to U.S. 40 Alternate, including upgrading bicycle and pedestrian facilities, resurfacing, curb and gutter work, and stormwater management improvements from Ivy Hill Drive to Middletown Parkway.
That project is expected to be finished by summer 2019, Gischlar said.
This week, crews are expected to do stormwater management pipe installation in the 200 and 300 blocks of East Main Street, finish new concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk work along Main Street from Coblentz Road to Cone Branch Road on the west side of the project, and finish new curbs and gutters on the east side.
They’ll also continue with temporary water connections between Creamery Row and Summers Drive, and begin new water line installations in that area.
“It’s starting to wear on people’s nerves,” Town Manager Drew Bowen said of the work, which began in spring 2017. He added that residents also understand that it’s an important project that takes time.