Jonathan Street project getting a bit rocky

August 02, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- It's been 14 months since the city began a construction project on Jonathan Street and, with completion of the work still months away, some residents say they have learned to live with the noise and dust.

Officials had hoped that the $3.9 million project would be finished this summer, but an unusually large amount of subsurface rock that workers discovered last year caused delays in construction. Now officials say they hope the work will be wrapped up in November.

The project, which was started in June 2008, involves replacing water and sewer mains and repaving the street, Assistant City Engineer Jim Bender said.

The water and sewer mains have been replaced on Jonathan Street from Church to Charles streets, Bender said. Workers currently are connecting extensions from those mains to houses.


If everything goes as planned, that part of the project should be finished in early September, Bender said.

The installation of storm drains should be completed by mid-October, and the curbs, sidewalks and landscaping should be done by early November, Bender said. Officials hope the paving will be finished by mid-November.

Bender said the contractor, Charles E. Brake Co. of St. Thomas, Pa., is bound by contract to finish the project around Dec. 1. If that doesn't happen, the city has the option to charge the company about $300 per day until the work is completed.

In the meantime, Jonathan Street will remain closed to traffic and cluttered with construction equipment.

Virginia Bullard of 314 N. Jonathan St. said the only inconvenience caused by the construction is the lack of parking. Before the construction, Bullard parked in front of her house, she said. Now she parks about 100 feet away in a parking lot.

"It doesn't bother me -- not one bit at all," Bullard said. "I'd rather they take their time than have to come back and dig it up again."

Janie Claiborne, who has lived at 406 N. Jonathan St. for 19 years, said the existing project is the first significant construction on Jonathan Street that she can remember.

"They're coming along good," Claiborne said. "That (subsurface) rock just slowed them down."

At least one Jonathan Street business is suffering from the construction.

An employee of Elks Lodge 278 who asked to remain anonymous said the club has lost about 60 percent of its business since the construction began.

"There's no place to park," the employee said.

Charles E. Brake Co. is the second contractor to work on the Jonathan Street project. Earlier this year, the city severed ties with the first contractor, Ardent Co. LLC of McLean, Va., after Ardent said it couldn't finish the work because of the subsurface rock.

The city laid a good portion of the water and sewer lines between the time that Ardent backed away from the project and Charles E. Brake took over in the spring.

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