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Ehrlich pledges $6 million to Edgewood/U.S. 40 plan

August 03, 2006

Thanks to the administration of Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, a road project that is key to the relocation of the Washington County Hospital will go forward.

The governor announced on Tuesday that the state would contribute $6 million to a project to upgrade the intersection of Edgewood Drive and U.S. 40.

Now it's up to city and county governments to fund their shares and help secure the rights-of-way.

The project is crucial to the hospital move and the orderly flow of traffic for two reasons.

Ambulances that come from the nearby Interstate 70 interchange must pass through that intersection to get to the new hospital site.

And traffic that comes from the southern part of the county through Funkstown on U.S. 40 Alternate also feeds into the intersection.

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A decision about how to proceed has been stalled, in part because the city government did not agree with the proposal that it pay one-third of the costs.

Under the arrangement, the county government will pay $3.6 million and the city $2.4 million.

Part of that city share will include a $750,000 relocation of water and sewer pipes.

Commissioners President Greg Snook said the new financing arrangement was proposed in a letter that he and Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey sent to state officials.

How that deal was negotiated hasn't been revealed, but it seems that the new city administration has concluded that regardless of what happens with the hospital, it is in the city's best interest to get this project done.

Work is not expected to begin until 2008 or be completed before 2010.

It might be a bit early to talk about design, but this intersection is the first traffic light visitors encounter when they come off I-70. Would it be too much to ask that there be a sign welcoming visitors to the city?

As we've often heard, first impressions count, so why not put something there that says city residents are happy to see new visitors?

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