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August 21, 2011
  • A tree limb, gravel, weeds and debris fill a culvert at the intersection of Leitersburg Pike (Md. 60) and Leiters Mill Road. A speed-limit sign at the intersection has also been twisted. Officials from the Maryland State Highway Administration and the Washington County Division of Public Works said they are correcting the problems.
Submitted photo

The problem: A tree limb, gravel, weeds and debris filled a culvert at the intersection of Leitersburg Pike (Md. 60) and Leiters Mill Road.

William Bingaman, a nearby resident who wrote in about the problem, said that when it rains, water washes gravel out of the blocked culvert into the street, making it difficult for motorists traveling on Leiters Mill Road to stop at the intersection.

When the gravel washes into the roadway, he said it is like driving on marbles. If the problem is not solved by this winter, he said he fears it will make the road like a “skating rink.”

“The tree is what started it,” he said. “A big, ol’ rotten tree limb, that is what is underneath all that gravel. It’s dammed the culvert up, basically.”

Bingaman said the limb fell off a dead tree in the winter and the problem has progressed ever since.

A speed-limit sign at the intersection has also been twisted, he said. The sign, which should face traffic, now faces the culvert, he said.

Who could fix it: Maryland State Highway Administration or Washington County Division of Public Works

What they say: Contacted about the problem Thursday, the SHA said Friday it sent a crew out Friday morning to remove the tree limb.

SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said the tree branch in the culvert was removed.

However, after learning that the SHA had said it came to remove the branch, Bingaman said he went there to see if the problem had been fixed.

Bingaman said the branch remained and the culvert was still blocked as of Friday afternoon.   

Gischlar said the SHA could have addressed a different culvert and that a crew would be sent back to address that culvert at the intersection.

He also said that if the tree was found to be on state property and was indeed dead, it would be removed. If the tree was on private property but posing a threat to safety, the SHA could remove any threatening limbs, he said.
Scott Hobbs, Washington County’s chief of engineering design, said Friday that the county has been addressing several bridge and culvert issues across the county.

The culvert reported by Bingaman at the intersection of Leiters Mill Road and Leitersburg Pike has been identified as a top priority and county crews will address it early this week, Hobbs said.

Any signs that were damaged or misplaced would be fixed, he said.

— Compiled by Kate S. Alexander

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