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Here we don't go again

July 09, 2005|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

tarar@herald-mail.com

The Broadfording Road bridge near Hagerstown is closed once again, but Washington County anticipates the stone arch bridge to permanently reopen by the end of September.

The bridge, which has caused headaches for residents and county officials, closed again in June for a planned second round of repairs.

County Chief Engineer Terry McGee said Friday that the work is expected to be completed by Sept. 30.

"Things are pretty much on schedule in this point in time," McGee said.

The first time the county closed the bridge for repairs was June 2003. It was to be finished later that year, but the county and the original contractor couldn't agree on the cost of additional work needed because of weather-related damage to the bridge.

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The bridge runs over Conococheague Creek near Hopps Landing Road.

The Washington County Commissioners terminated that contract in March 2004 and later hired Building Systems Inc. of Hagerstown to do the repairs for $1.4 million.

The cost of the project is about $707,000 more than what the county originally budgeted.

After its initial closing, the bridge wasn't reopened until January, when Building Systems was able to repair the structure enough for travel.

After breaking for winter, the bridge was closed again on June 8 so the work could be completed, according to the county's Web site, www.washco-md.net.

Residents, fed up with the length of the bridge's initial closure, complained to the county that the closure forced them to take longer routes to and from home, spend more on gas and could have increased fire, police and ambulance response times in emergencies.

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