Washington County briefs

June 13, 2007|by JOSHUA BOWMAN

Cost hike agreed to for U.S. 40 project

The Washington County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to the state's increased cost estimate for improvements at one of the county's busiest intersections, but said they will not agree to unlimited increases for the project in the future.

The project to widen the intersection of U.S. 40 and Edgewood Drive will cost $14.4 million, according to the Maryland State Highway Administration's latest cost estimate, which is $3.2 million higher than their original estimate for the project.

The commissioners agreed to pay their portion of the increase - which is split between the county, the city and the state - but added language to the agreement that would prevent the SHA from seizing county gas tax funds for further increases.

Several commissioners said they were frustrated by the agreement, which sets the county's contribution to the project as a percentage of the total cost, but does not specify a maximum dollar amount.


"You don't write anybody a blank check," said Commissioner James F. Kercheval, who recommended that the county set a cap on how much it will spend on the project.

Officials at the SHA cited increased overhead costs and higher prices for paving materials as the reasons for the rising cost of the project.

County and city officials will meet with the SHA later this week to recommend additional cost-cutting measures and talk about the increased overhead costs.

County awards pavement contract

The county awarded its annual pavement maintenance contract to C. William Hetzer Inc. of Hagerstown.

Hetzer was the low bidder for the contract at $3.25 million.

The county received only one other bid, from L.W. Wolfe Enterprises Inc. for $3.46 million.

The contract includes the preservation, repair and rehabilitation of 28 miles of county roads. Work is scheduled to begin on June 18, 2007, and end on May 16, 2008. The county allocated $3 million for the contract in its fiscal year 2008 budget and has $400,000 left over from last year's contract to spend this year.

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