Ford Drive in Hancock reopens after construction

May 12, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HANCOCK - Ford Drive in Hancock reopened May 5 after being closed for nearly two years for construction. On that day, a new access road to Rayloc Co. was also in use.

Construction on the access road between Ford Drive and Tollgate Ridge Road and Rayloc Road that would provide better access to the Rayloc plant began in June 2004. Part of that project included minor repairs to Tollgate Bridge on Ford Drive, said Robert Slocum, Washington County's deputy chief engineer.

A few months before the access road was complete, the remnants of a hurricane in September 2004 washed out Tollgate Bridge over Tonoloway Creek - the same bridge that had been scheduled for some minor repairs.

"The town and Rayloc had been working to improve the (Interstate 70) exit to our plant and had finally gotten a new road constructed leading from the interstate to the plant," said Bill Westerman, Rayloc general manager. "Then, just a few months before that road was complete, the bridge washed out."


Flooding caused extensive damage to the bridge, Hancock Town Manager David Smith said.

Repairs to the bridge then were included in the Highway Department project already under way along that road. The total cost of the project was about $2.4 million, Slocum said.

The access road leading to the business was intended to create a safer route for the 30 trucks that come and go from the facility each day, while also allowing the trucks to bypass downtown Hancock. The main route to the plant did include a sharp turn.

During construction to Ford Drive, Westerman said Rayloc employees were affected.

"It impacted our employees when we had up to 300 people trying to leave at the end of a shift and only one way to leave the plant," Westerman said.

Westerman said he and Rayloc employees were happy to have the road open again.

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