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Shorter sections of I-70 to close

August 21, 2000

Shorter sections of I-70 to close



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Only portions of the left lane of a 9-mile stretch of Interstate 70 will be closed this week, not the entire interstate through Washington County as a Maryland State Highway Administration spokeswoman had previously said would be the case.

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Parts of the 9-mile stretch on I-70 westbound from Md. 66 to Interstate 81 will be closed this week from early morning to about 11 a.m., SHA spokeswoman Lora Rakowski said Monday. That stretch will be closed in three-mile sections instead of being shut down all at one time, she said.

No problems were reported Monday, the first day a portion of the lane was closed during the day, she said.

The lane closure stems from work to lay fiber-optic cable from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh, she said.

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

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She said Monday, however, that although work will be done along the entire stretch, that work will be done in sections, and only those sections where work is being done will be closed at any one time, she said.

The company doing the work had posted notices asking motorists to use U.S. 40 instead of I-70.

"Basically, the public notice was a little bit too dramatic," she said.

While drivers can use a detour, they should not need to, she said.

If traffic delays and backups result from the lane closure, the closure will be canceled for that day, she said.

A Philadelphia- based company called Level 3 Communications 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 and also involved some lane closures, Rakowski 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.

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