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Road improvements smoothing the way

June 22, 2000|By NATASHA CEPURA

It's not your imagination. There really are a lot of orange barrels and cones lining roadways in Washington County this summer.

cont. from front page

Earlier this month, construction crews began replacing the decks of seven bridges on Interstate 70 from the Frederick County line to east of Hagerstown, in addition to making improvements on a 3.3-mile stretch of Dual Highway from Cannon Avenue to I-70.

Work also began this week on a 5.6 -mile stretch of westbound I-70 from Md. 56 near Big Pool to Md. 615, just east of Hancock.

The combined cost of all three projects is nearly $5.4 million.

The reason for the large number of construction activities is a result of accumulated taxes from a revised 1992 tax law, according to Lora Rakowski, spokesperson for the State Highway Administration.

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In addition to the booming economy, taxes from people buying cars has contributed to the transportation funding pool used for highway construction, Rakowski said.

"Spring and summer is construction season, because of the need to have consistent 45-50 degree Fahrenheit weather when laying the asphalt and concrete," Rakowski said. "This is a big year for the state highway administration."

Each project is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year, weather permitting.

The earliest completion date is scheduled in late August for the 5.64 miles of westbound I-70. The work on that $1.5 million project consists of milling at bridge approaches, patching, resurfacing and modification of existing traffic barriers.

Reflective pavement markings and shoulder rumble strips will also be added, according to SHA officials.

The construction work on Dual Highway is scheduled for completion by late fall. The $1.6 million project involves grinding the existing riding surface, drainage and guardrail improvements and installation of reflective pavement markings. A median at the Mt. Aetna Road crossover will also be built.

The top three inches of road surface will be removed and replaced with a deep latex concrete overlay on all seven bridges. The road on the bridges has decayed over time due to use and weather, according to the SHA.

Roadway joints will be replaced as well. The joints will have new compression seals that the previous joints did not have. New traffic barriers at bridge approaches and drainage troughs will be installed. Construction on the bridges is set to be finished by December at a cost of $2.26 million.

SHA officials said each construction zone will have various message signs, arrow panels and advanced warning signs. Traffic cones and drums will be used to guide motorists through the work areas.

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