Memorial Boulevard repairs could start Monday

June 05, 2005|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

Drivers in Hagerstown who use East Memorial Boulevard soon will face some inconvenience as a result of work to repair the aging road.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said work crews could begin work as early as Monday to begin fixing the one-block section of Memorial Boulevard between South Potomac Street and Frederick Street, which will be closed for the duration of the project.

The road runs in front of Bester Elementary School and Rose Hill Cemetery, and is close to other city amenities, including Municipal Stadium and City Park.


The stretch of road on average handles between 5,000 and 6,000 motorists a day, Tissue said.

"The existing pavement that's out there is broken, moving and it doesn't just need (an) overlay" of pavement, Tissue said.

"The soil that the road is built on is not stable and it allows the road pavement to do things that it shouldn't do," Tissue said. In some cases, the asphalt looks like it's melting over the roadway.

The problem, Tissue said, is that the material below the asphalt is a type of ash that probably came from the old Municipal Electric Light Plant, which used to burn coal to run the city's power.

The ash is much softer than "virgin soils" that roads usually are built on, such as clay or rock, Tissue said.

Weather permitting, work crews with C. William Hetzer Inc. of Hagerstown will begin digging up the road. Tissue said the company also will mix concrete into the first 12 inches of the ash road bed, stiffening the roadway.

Tissue said workers then will repave the street, as well as repair the curb and sidewalk along the south side of the street, which is next to the cemetery.

The project is scheduled to cost no more than $295,000, according to city documents, although Hetzer won the contract with a slightly larger bid than the projected cost of $324,348. Fayetteville (Pa.) Contractors Inc. was the only other competing firm, with a bid of $355,000.

Hetzer also is the company that is doing the first phase of the runway extension at Hagerstown Regional Airport.

Despite the inconvenience to local drivers, Tissue said, the project is worth the cost.

"I think everyone will agree that they want to see it fixed," Tissue said.

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