Bridge work slows Dual Highway traffic

April 28, 2000|By SCOTT BUTKI

A lane closure during road work on Dual Highway near Eastern Boulevard is irking motorists and hurting at least one business.

"It's pretty rough," said Charles Thomas of Martinsburg, W.Va. The closure has caused him 15- to 20-minute delays, he said.

"Oh, yeah," agreed Ryan Heaton of Smithsburg. "It's bad."

"I don't like it," said Chris Magaw of Hagerstown. "I try to avoid it."

He's not alone. Several other people interviewed near the traffic jam Friday night said they generally take short cuts to avoid the area where they say work at the bridge over Antietam Creek is causing at least a 10-minute delay in their traveling.

Since April 5 and for about five more months only one of the two eastbound lanes of the bridge will be open to traffic, State Highway Administration spokeswoman Lora Rakowski said.


While short cuts may help motorists avoid snarled traffic, it's causing problems for Yogesh Patel, owner of the Sunoco Food Mart at Eastern Boulevard and Dual Highway. Patel said as people avoid the intersection because of the congestion it is affecting his business.

As the traffic jams get worse, so do the sales at the gas station, he said.

"There is not much I can do," he said.

Patel said he hopes the work will ultimately help the city.

During the construction project, the State Highway Administration is detouring tractor-trailers from Dual Highway to Eastern Boulevard to Mount Aetna Road and back to Dual Highway.

Thomas and the others interviewed Friday night said they haven't complained.

"I just live with it," Thomas said.

Rakowski said she is unaware of anyone registering any complaints about the project.

"People don't like it but they're willing to deal with it," she said.

Hagerstown Police Sgt. Dave Long, the shift supervisor Thursday, and city Public Information Manager Karen Giffin said they were unaware of any official complaints about the traffic problems.

Greg Clopper, manager of the nearby Dairy Queen on Dual Highway, said there has been no noticeable impact on the business due to the traffic problems.

The estimated cost of the bridge project is $1.8 million, Rakowski said.

When finished there will be an additional left-turn lane for westbound traffic, a sidewalk on the bridge and wider road shoulders, she said.

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