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Tar cleanup gets sticky

June 21, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

The Maryland State Highway Administration found out Friday the meaning of the expression, "no good deed ever goes unpunished.''

Three SHA trucks showed up at the M.S. Johnston Co. at 13261 Pennsylvania Ave. in Hagerstown Friday morning to right an old wrong, according to Alan Sheeley, comptroller-personnel director at M.S. Johnston.

But in the process, they attracted the attention of at least one taxpayer who happened to drive by and wondered why his tax dollars were going to pave a private company's parking lot.

Last summer, the state widened and repaved Pennsylvania Avenue, Sheeley said. A hot tar pot owned by P&W Excavating of Hagerstown was left unattended on the Johnston lot and boiled over, Sheeley said.

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"It rolled down the lot and into our drains,'' Sheeley said. "We wrote a letter to the state and complained.''

Wally Beaulieu, SHA district engineer, said Friday that the letter prompted the SHA to ask P&W to clean up the sticky mess.

"We thought it was all taken care of but it wasn't,'' Beaulieu said. "So we sent our trucks out there Friday to finish the job.''

And now, Beaulieu said, the state is going to send the bill for Friday's work to P&W.

"The taxpayers won't be paying for it,'' Beaulieu said.

Maynard Bard, general superintendent of P&W Excavation, said Friday he thought his firm had cleaned up the problem to everyone's satisfaction last fall.

"I suppose when it got hot, it got sticky and they called the state,'' Bard said.

He agreed that his firm would pay for Friday's work.

Sheeley said the SHA crews shoveled up as much of the sticky residue as they could and cleared the drains.

"Then they put down a light layer of blacktop, about a three-foot strip,'' Sheeley said.

Maurice Johnston, owner of the air conditioning company, said the state deserves a compliment for following through with the work.

"They were back out here as soon as the weather permitted,'' Johnston said.

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