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Public comment sought on street improvements

September 24, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Downtown Hagerstown residents and business owners will have an opportunity next Wednesday to comment on a $1 million streetscape project that is expected to start in May, officials said.

The Maryland State Highway Administration will present the streetscape improvement plan to the Hagerstown Planning Commission at its meeting next Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers on the second floor of City Hall, said City Planner Kathy Maher.

The first phase of the streetscape project involves East Franklin and East Washington streets from Potomac Street to Cannon Avenue, Maher said.

The roads will be milled and repaved, some curbs and sidewalks will be replaced, handicap-accessible ramps will be installed at intersections and deteriorating stormwater drains will be replaced, officials said.

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The sidewalks will be widened near intersections to slow traffic. Only four parking spaces will be lost from the streetscape redesign, Maher said.

At the intersections with Potomac Street and Cannon Avenue concrete crosswalks will be installed to make drivers more aware of heavy pedestrian traffic, said Bill Park with the SHA office in LaVale, Md.

Park said state officials hope to have the work done by December.

Work will start near Potomac Street and move east so businesses in the city's central core are less likely to be affected by construction during the holiday season, Maher said.

The final street surface coating and landscaping might not be complete until the spring of 2000, she said.

The street that allows southbound traffic on Cannon Avenue to yield onto East Franklin Street, in front of Roto-Rooter Sewer Service, will be closed, Maher said. The area will be landscaped.

City officials are considering making East Franklin Street between Cannon Avenue and Cleveland Avenue one-way eastbound to make the intersection at Cannon safer, Maher said.

One lane of traffic may be shut down at times, Park said. The work would be done during the day so downtown residents wouldn't be disturbed at night.

State officials will ask again this fall for about $1 million from the state to redo the streetscape on West Washington and West Franklin streets from Potomac to Walnut streets, Park said. If approved, the money would come from the fiscal 2000-2001 budget, he said.

Work on another major state highway project is expected to begin in early February, Park said.

The $1.8 million project will expand the eastbound U.S. 40 bridge over Antietam Creek to create a westbound turning lane.

Periodically, truck traffic trying to turn from Eastern Boulevard onto Dual Highway will be detoured onto Mount Aetna Road, Park said. The detour will be set up when the trucks don't have enough room to turn onto the bridge because of construction.

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