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Sharpsburg officials unhappy with state project

September 10, 1997

By JULIE E. GREENE

Staff Writer

SHARPSBURG - Some Sharpsburg officials are fed up with the state over a $2.8 million Main Street renovation project that solved some of the town's storm drain problems, but created others.

Mayor George Kesler said town officials are concerned with two intersections where storm water ends up sitting rather than draining underground.

In both cases the sitting water is a result of poor grading, Kesler said.

At the corner of South Mechanic and Main streets, storm water misses two drains before ending up near the front of Councilman Hal Spielman's home.

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The underground drain in front of his 114 E. Main St. home backed up during the last hard rain, Spielman said.

The sitting water could become a hazard in the winter if it freezes, making it difficult for traffic to stop at that intersection, he said.

A similar problem exists at the corner of North Potomac and West Main streets, Kesler said.

Instead of draining down Main Street, water sits in front of the 227 W. Main St. home of Karl Raftery and could run over the curb onto his front sidewalk, Raftery said. The sitting water will freeze in the winter and attract mosquitoes in the summer, he said.

"Both those intersections are constructed as designed and we're not going to do anything about it," said Jim Zufall, the Maryland State Highway Administration's assistant district engineer for construction.

"That's the way it was designed and that's the way the city approved it," Zufall said.

Work crews had difficulty getting proper drainage because the grade was so flat, Zufall said.

Kesler said he will try to arrange a meeting between town officials, State Sen. Donald F. Munson and Del. D. Bruce Poole to see if state officials can help get the problems repaired.

Repairs probably would include ripping up paving at both intersections at a time when the state project was supposed to be wrapping up, Kesler said.

The state project's cost already has skyrocketed past its original $1.9 million price to $2.8 million, due in part to unstable ground found beneath sidewalks and roadways, Zufall said.

Officials said the state will maintain a spillway on North Mechanic Street that clogs. The state's contractor closed one end of the spillway so storm water would drain underground, but the water could back up if the grate is blocked, they said.

Officials fear the clogging could lead to Town Square being flooded in heavy rain.

Kesler said several roads used as detours for the last year while Main Street was closed also are in need of repair because of heavy traffic.

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