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Alleys to close for library renovation work

Drivers should be prepared for possible construction-related congestion or delays on Potomac and Antietam streets

February 03, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • Construction is set to begin Monday on the renovation and expansion of the Washington County Free Library in downtown Hagerstown, county Project Manager Gary Pozzouli said. The city already has blocked off the parking spaces adjacent to the construction site on South Potomac and East Antietam streets. Those spaces will remain off-limits for parking throughout the construction period.
By Chad Trovinger, Graphic Artist

HAGERSTOWN — Construction is set to begin Monday on the renovation and expansion of the Washington County Free Library in downtown Hagerstown, county Project Manager Gary Pozzouli said.

The city already has blocked off the parking spaces adjacent to the construction site on South Potomac and East Antietam streets. Those spaces will remain off-limits for parking throughout the construction period.

The work is expected to be completed by October 2012, unless delayed by unforeseen complications, Pozzouli said.

Cramer Alley and Bixlers Alley to the rear of the library will be closed to through traffic throughout the project, he said. Local traffic and emergency responders will be able to use both alleys to access adjoining properties, but should avoid using them if possible, Hagerstown officials said in a news release.

Cramer Alley runs parallel to Potomac Street behind the library, and Bixlers Alley runs between Cramer Alley and South Locust Street.

The $23.8 million project will nearly double the size of the central library to 84,758 square feet, officials have said. The project also includes construction of new parking lots on the former Massey Auto property on East Baltimore Street and improvements to Cramer and Bixlers alleys.

The 100 S. Potomac St. library building closed Nov. 9, and two temporary branches opened about a week later.

In December, the county awarded a $15.9 million construction contract to Dustin Construction Inc. of Ijamsville, Md., the lowest of 12 bidders.

During construction, chain-link fencing will be installed around the perimeter of the work areas, and barricades and signs will direct traffic and pedestrians around the work zones, the news release said.

Drivers should be prepared for possible construction-related congestion or delays on Potomac and Antietam streets, the release said.

Site control setup and demolition probably will be the first construction tasks, Pozzouli said.

The existing building will be demolished to expose the building structure and floor slabs, county Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III has said.

Pozzouli said the demolition would probably occur by mechanical means.

"I don't think it will be a wrecking ball," he said.

 Mary C. Baykan, director of the Washington County Free Library,  said library officials were excited for the work to begin.

"It's really the beginning of a marvelous asset for Hagerstown and Washington County," Baykan said. "Not only is it a great educational institution, but it is an economic driver for downtown, and to see that type of activity starting is going to be such a financial boost to the downtown."

The work will bring construction workers downtown who will buy lunches from local restaurants and cafes, she said.

Meanwhile, the closure of the main library has driven patrons not only to the temporary Hagerstown branches but also to Washington County Free Library branches in nearby towns, Baykan said.

"A lot of them are looking at and seeing what great facilities we have in places like Smithsburg and Boonsboro and Williamsport," she said.

The two temporary branches are at 59 W. Washington St. and 18739 North Pointe Drive. Other materials from the main branch are in storage and are available upon request.

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