Year-long reconstruction would shut down Jonathan Street in sections

residents concerned

April 04, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

HAGERSTOWN -- The City of Hagerstown held a public meeting Thursday night to talk to residents about the upcoming closure of Jonathan Street, which will be shut down in sections for about a year for a reconstruction project.

More than 50 residents attended the meeting at Memorial Recreation Center, near the intersection of West North Avenue and Jonathan Street.

Several residents said they were concerned about how the closure will affect parking, bus service and their children's safety, among other things.

City Engineer Rodney Tissue described the project's scope, schedule and impact before taking questions from the audience.

"This is a big deal; I'm not going to sugarcoat it. This is going to be hard, but it will be worth it," Tissue said.


Tissue said the street will be closed one block at a time from Church through Charles streets, starting at the end of this month.

The closures are needed so the city can replace water and sewer lines, and storm and gas mains beneath the street.

After the first round of closures, the same blocks will be closed again one at a time so the city can repair sidewalks, curbs and the front stoops of some residences.

The city will also plant trees; add trash cans, crosswalks, streetlights and a bike lane; and spruce up Medal of Honor Triangle.

When the water line is replaced, residential service could be interrupted for as much as four hours during the day. Such an interruption will happen twice during the project, Tissue said.

In total, construction will last through March 2009 and could go longer if weather is bad or the project is delayed, Tissue said.

An information packet handed out at the meeting details traffic detours for each block closure.

Generally, the city will open alleys and make some roads, such as Henry Street and Murph Avenue, two-way streets to accommodate extra cars.

Residents will be able to park in a city lot at the corner of Jonathan and Church streets. The city will give residents parking permits for that lot.

An agreement with the trash company was reached so residents will be able to leave their trash out in front of their homes when the road is closed.

County Commuter and Washington County Public Schools will not run buses on Jonathan Street during the project.

The school system will create a temporary bus stop at the pavilion at Wheaton Park.

There will be no changes in mail delivery.

Walkways will be kept open as much as possible during construction, Tissue said.

Some residents said they were concerned about pedestrian safety on the street, which will have open holes as deep as 14 feet during the utility replacements.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II said the city will put up flexible orange gates around construction areas.

People also said that the city lot at the south end of Jonathan Street might not provide enough parking for residents and businesses that lose parking spaces during construction.

Tissue noted that only one block will be closed at a time and that the rest of the street will be open for parking.

He said residents with questions can call the Hagerstown Department of Engineering and Code Administration at 301-739-8577, ext. 125.

Basics of the Jonathan Street reconstruction project:

· Closed for about a year in sections from late April 2008 through March 2009

· Utility lines beneath street will be replaced

· Curbs, sidewalks and stoops will be repaired

· Medal of Honor Triangle will be expanded with landscaping

· Trees, trash cans and crosswalks will be added to streetscape

People with questions may call Hagerstown Department of Engineering and Code Administration at 301-739-8577, ext. 125.

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