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What's wrong with this picture?

November 29, 2009

Editor's note: Each Monday, The Herald-Mail will highlight an infrastructure issue or other problem, and will try to find out what is being done to fix or improve the situation.

We will not tackle situations involving neighborhood or domestic disputes or consumer problems.

The problem: A pillar supporting the Interstate 70 bridge over U.S. 40 Alternate south of Funkstown appears to be damaged, with the paint worn away to expose rust-stained concrete.

Who could fix it: Maryland State Highway Administration

What they say: SHA spokeswoman Kellie Boulware said the flaking visible on the column is not indicative of any sort of structural integrity problem.

Boulware said the bridge was inspected in early 2008 and should be examined again next year as part of SHA's two-year cycle for bridge inspections.

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She said rain and moisture could have caused the outer coating of the column to flake off.

"It's nothing to impact it structurally (or) to give motorists any kind of concern," Boulware said.

Following up

Smithsburg drain pipe: When contacted this month about a crumbling drainage pipe under Bradbury Avenue, near the Smithsburg athletic fields entrance, the Maryland State Highway Administration went right to work. At first, the department expected to fix the end of the pipe, where the road shoulder also was eroded, but a crew ended up replacing the entire pipe.

"Thanks to your investigation, and action -- it has been fixed!" Debbie Bakner, a nearby resident who pointed out the problem to The Herald-Mail, wrote in a follow-up e-mail.

-- Compiled by Heather Keels

If you are aware of a safety problem, a major annoyance or a pet peeve that one of our governmental bodies, an agency or an organization is responsible for fixing, send the information, and a photo if you have it, to:

What's Wrong With This Picture
c/o The Herald-Mail newsroom
100 Summit Ave.
Hagerstown MD 21740

You can e-mail the information to lindad@herald-mail.com.

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