StreetScapes Middletown

Improvements to the road and sidewalks along U.S. 40 Alternate (Main Street) in Middletown continue as part of the State Highway Administration’s streetscape project.

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.”

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at

(7) comments


The work in Jefferson has been ongoing for 2 years. So, another 2 years to go? This might become the longest little street project in history. Unbelievable! The road is a washboard mess with bumps and potholes they have made. I drive through there slowly every day trying to avoid the bumps. Last car servicing my car was far out of alignment. I blame it on the Jefferson project. Had to replace my front tires at 16,000 miles.

I remember when Virginia added 2 lanes from Leesburg to the Dullus exit, about 10 miles. They were done in about 3 months.


I could've watched paint dry but I picked this instead


A missed opportunity in all these projects has been the failure to incorporate electric and telecom. So in all cases the ugly big wooden poles and the tangle of overhead wires remains. With streets and sidewalks torn up why not underground all the wires and be rid of the fat ugly poles? The report doesn't tell us if the opportunity taken to put in natural gas mains to cut fuel bills and reduce pollution. Enlightened local leadership would have insisted on doing an all-utilities upgrade given the disruption and expense already incurred.


According, to news bulletins there was 10 months left on Middletown's street scape. If accurate, it would be around November before it is completely done.


The WALL/FENCE/BARRIER will be finished by then DickD. 📶📶📶


SMH, I have no idea of what you mean, phy.


(Dick, I think fido was just trying to make a cheap political statement. Again.)

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.