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Rock deposit could lengthen Jonathan Street overhaul

August 13, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- A $3.7 million construction project to overhaul Jonathan Street recently hit a snag that could prolong traffic detours for several more weeks.

On Tuesday, City Engineer Rodney Tissue told the Hagerstown City Council that a large rock deposit was discovered about 14 feet below the street when workers began to replace a sanitary sewer line.

Dislodging the rock over the sewer line will add about two months to the project, he said. The best option to remove the rock would be to use controlled blasting.

"We're going to concentrate on the 200 block and get this rock out of there," Tissue said. "It's a major change in direction as far as (replacing the sanitary sewer line)."

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Tissue said the problem can be traced to the 1920s, when contractors chose to lay the existing sewer line by tunneling through the rock rather than removing it.

The city has enough money to pay for removing the rock because the council set aside an extra $185,500 to cover unforeseen costs associated with the project, Tissue said. If everything goes well, Jonathan Street should be finished in the summer of 2009.

Councilwoman Alesia Parson-McBean, who is a Jonathan Street resident, said her neighbors, merchants and motorists -- who have been taking detours around the construction since it began in June -- need to be patient.

"We just have to bear with it," she said.

Tissue also gave a brief overview on the progress of a $4.4 million project to widen Eastern Boulevard.

New curb and base pavement have been placed on the eastern third of the road between Conrad Court and Jefferson Boulevard, and about 90 percent of the new storm drain and utilities have been installed, Tissue said. Weather permitting, a substantial portion of the project should be completed by November.

"It seems like it's coming together really well," he said. "It looks like we're going to have a nice project out there."

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