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Work to snarl section of I-70

August 15, 2000

Work to snarl section of I-70



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


The Maryland State Highway Administration and a company laying fiber-optic cable along Interstate 70 are asking motorists to try to avoid parts of the interstate in Washington County for up to three weeks starting next Monday.

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The left lane of I-70 westbound from the Frederick County line to near Hancock - a stretch of more than 35 miles - will be closed from the early morning to about 11 a.m. on weekdays for from two to three weeks, SHA spokeswoman Lora Rakowski said Tuesday.

A public notice placed by the company states: "If at all possible please plan to use an alternate route for these few weeks We apologize for the inconvenience."

Project officials suggest motorists use U.S. 40 instead of I-70, Rakowski said.

The situation stems from a project that involves laying fiber-optic cable from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh. The work is being done by a Philadelphia- based company called Level 3 Communications, she said.

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The company has completed laying the cable along the shoulder of Interstate 70 between the Frederick County line and Hagerstown, she said. That work was done at night, she said.

Now company workers will try to restore vegetation that was moved or altered while the cable was being put in place, Rakowski said. The company wants to do that work during the day, she said.

Workers are also laying cable and doing restoration work on I-70 between Hagerstown and Hancock, she said.

The state gave the company permission to close the lane closest to the shoulder while the work is being done, according to Rakowski.

The goal is to minimize traffic backups caused by the work, she said. If the lane closures cause major traffic delays on certain days the closed lane might be reopened earlier than 11 a.m., she said.

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