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State funds sought for Edgewood project

June 16, 2006|by TARA REILLY

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Washington County is considering asking the state to pay for half of the cost of improvements to the busy U.S. 40 and Edgewood Drive intersection.

The county and city would pay the remaining 50 percent, under the proposal.

The original proposal supported by the state was that each government would pay one-third of the $11 million to $12 million project.

"But the City Council isn't on that level of funding, from what they're telling me," County Commissioner James F. Kercheval said Thursday.

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The commissioners agreed by consensus Tuesday to support the proposal for more funding from the state. They are waiting to hear whether the city agrees before sending the proposal to the state.

The commissioners haven't taken an official vote on the matter.

At least two City Council members, Kristin B. Aleshire and Kelly S. Cromer, have discussed the proposal in "two plus two" committee talks.

Aleshire and Cromer represent the city on the committee, and Kercheval and Commissioner Doris J. Nipps represent the county.

"I would say that I'm open to discussion at this point," Aleshire said Thursday.

He said he anticipates the City Council will discuss the proposal in the near future.

Under the proposal, the county would pay up to $3.6 million, or 60 percent, of the local share of the project's cost, and the city would contribute 40 percent of the local share.

The proposal states the county would make its share available to the state as of July 1. The city's share would consist of a $1.65 million contribution and the Hagerstown Water And Sewer Department relocating the city's water and sewer lines as needed for the project, which is estimated to cost $750,000.

The project would add a third through lane in each direction on U.S. 40 that allows bicycle travel; extend the existing left- and right-turn lanes on U.S. 40; and widen Edgewood Drive to create two left-turn lanes, one through lane and one through/right-shared lane in each direction.

Construction is proposed to begin in July 2007 and be completed in the winter of 2008 or summer of 2009, Kercheval said.

He said the project is important for the county and the state. U.S. 40 is used by many commuters who leave the county daily and head east to work, he said.

"Route 40 is probably the main corridor used by people who go out of town," Kercheval said.

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