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Washington County budget includes funds for Funkstown bypass

April 22, 2008|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- A long-awaited bypass around Funkstown will be partially funded in fiscal year 2009 after the Washington County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to move the project up in the county's capital improvement plan.

Southern Boulevard, which will connect East Oak Ridge Drive west of Funkstown with Edgewood Drive east of Funkstown, will cost roughly $30 million to finish and is being divided into two parts, County Commissioner James F. Kercheval said.

About $1.43 million will be allotted in fiscal 2009, which starts July 1, for land acquisition and design of the road's first section from East Oak Ridge Drive near South Pointe Drive to Alt. U.S. 40 north of Funkstown, Washington County Budget and Finance Director Debra S. Murray said.

Construction on that section would begin in fiscal 2010, according to budget documents. Construction costs in fiscal 2010 are estimated at $4 million.

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The second section of the road, which will connect Alt. U.S. 40 north of Funkstown to Edgewood Drive, will not start until after fiscal 2014, according to the capital improvement plan.

That portion of the project will be much more expensive, Kercheval said, because it will cross Antietam Creek and require several land acquisitions.

"(The first section) is definitely the cheaper of the two. But with a project this big, just getting started is a huge deal," Kercheval said.

Also, a project to widen Eastern Boulevard from Md. 64 to Security Boulevard was moved up two years in the county's capital improvement plan.

The county will spend $575,000 in fiscal 2009 on design and land acquisition for the project, which will expand the road from two lanes to a four-lane divided highway.

Construction would start in fiscal 2011.

To make room for the Southern and Eastern boulevard projects in fiscal 2009, a plan to add a traffic signal at Longmeadow and Paradise Church roads and to widen Longmeadow Road to three lanes between Marsh Pike and Pulaski Drive will not begin until fiscal 2012.

A plan to widen Robinwood Drive between Hagerstown Community College and Md. 64 also will be delayed.

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