For three Frederick County communities, lengthy road improvement projects have taken their toll on residents’ vehicles and patience.
Projects in Emmitsburg, Middletown and Jefferson are in various stages of completion.
Emmitsburg is wrapping up its streetscape project.
A sidewalk revitalization project was finished at the end of 2018, Mayor Don Briggs said Monday. The changes included making improvements to the sidewalks to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and installing streetlights.
Work on the $3 million project, which began in the spring of 2017, has now moved to a bridge on Md. 140 over Flat Run.
Meanwhile, Middletown is in the midst of a nearly $18 million project that includes road improvements, resurfacing, curb and gutter improvements, and stormwater management work.
Town Administrator Drew Bowen said he thinks residents have handled the first two years of constant construction well.
“I can tell you, it’s getting a little old now,” Bowen said.
The State Highway Administration expects the project to be finished in the second half of 2019. It began in the fall of 2016.
Bowen said he thinks that some of the areas along U.S. 40 Alternate that have been torn up will be repaved by the end of the summer.
The newest streetscape project in the county is in Jefferson, where a nearly $9 million project began in fall 2017 to reconstruct Md. 180 from Broad Run Road to Old Holter Road.
That project is expected to be finished in the fall of 2020.
While the toll of the projects while they’re ongoing can be hard on communities, the end result is worth it, officials said.
Some businesses in downtown Emmitsburg had a tough time during the sidewalk work, but the last improvements had been made 40 years ago, Briggs said.
“It really needed a do-over,” he said.
The town’s residents seem to really like the results.
“It seems like a happy ending,” Briggs said.
SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said the state works closely with towns in the planning and completion of projects.
They realize it creates problems when they have to block lanes to do work, he said.
In 2016, New Market finished an $11.1 million project that took more than two years and included repaving Main Street, adding streetlights, replacing sidewalks and ramps, reconstructing open and closed drainage systems to eliminate localized drainage problems, and adding a new curb and gutter.
Those kinds of projects are an “immense endeavor” to take on, said New Market Mayor Winslow F. Burhans III, but now the town gets lots of compliments on the area.
The SHA mostly did a good job mitigating the disruptions to the business community, but there were some issues, he said.
The towns have to take an active role in inspecting the work to make sure it’s done right, Burhans said.
There were a few times that the town had to talk to SHA’s district engineer or get members of the county’s legislative delegation involved to get something the way they wanted it, he said.
“When you get to the finish line, it’s a good project,” he said. “But for New Market, it was hell getting to the finish line.”