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Improvements announced for busy U.S. 40 intersection

August 28, 2004|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

What better way can there be to draw attention to the need for a road construction project than to announce it at one of the county's busiest intersections at rush hour?

State and local officials gathered Friday afternoon at Fidelity Bank at the intersection of Edgewood Drive and Dual Highway as Gov. Robert Ehrlich and Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan announced that Hagerstown, Washington County and the state jointly were funding planning and engineering work for improvements to the intersection.

The design work will cost $103,000, according to a release from the governor's office. Of that, Hagerstown and Washington County each are paying $34,000. The state will pick up the remainder.

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"I know we're just talking about planning today, but it's gonna lead to a $13 million project," Ehrlich said.

According to information provided by the State Highway Administration, the project likely will include:

· Widening of U.S. 40 to include additional through lanes and turning lanes.

· Widening of Edgewood Drive to include additional lanes.

· A new traffic signal to improve traffic flow.

· Storm-water management and drainage improvements.

· Roadway resurfacing, striping and paving.

SHA statistics show that 30,000 vehicles per day travel along U.S. 40 at that intersection now, but project that number could double within 10 years.

Washington County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer said there is no set start date for construction on the project, but that he believes construction could begin as early as spring 2006. But he said property and rights of way must be acquired first.

"It is being worked on aggressively," Rohrer said.

"It's nice to see these projects being announced when you spend as much time in Annapolis nagging as I do," Rohrer added. "The state is starting to step up; yhey're putting their money where their mouth is."

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