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What's wrong with this picture?

September 18, 2011
  • The city of Hagerstown recently began sewer work in the 800 block of Dewey Avenue in Hagerstown's North End.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

The problem: Richard Crowther, who lives in the 800 block of Dewey Avenue in Hagerstown’s North End, said the city recently began sewer work in his street without notifying nearby residents of what was being done.

The city put up no-parking signs in the area of the work, but Crowther, who leaves a vehicle at home while he is traveling, said that had he been out of town, he would have had no idea he needed to move his vehicle and fears it would have been towed.

“I think they should have sent us all a letter and said, ‘We intend to work on the sewage,’ and that ‘We will be asking you to move your cars’ during a certain period of time,” Crowther said.

Who could fix it: City of Hagerstown

What they say: Crews are replacing a section of pipe under Dewey Avenue that was damaged by root intrusion, city spokeswoman Mary King said.

On Sept. 12, the wastewater division posted no-parking signs at 805 Dewey Ave. and contacted the school bus driver to make arrangements for the pickup of students, King said. Signs are always posted at least 24 hours before work begins, and a phone number is on the signs for anyone with questions or concerns about parking, the nature of the work or anything else, King said.

Excavation work began Sept. 14 and was scheduled to be completed by the end of the week, but the project is weather-dependent and might extend into this week, she said.

King said city procedure calls for residents to be notified of any interruption of service or road closure. Before long-term projects, such as recent work on Jonathan Street, the city has held community meetings.

“There’s always a lot of work to be done, so we have to look at, too, manpower and the resources we have, so getting the work done and making sure it’s done quickly and efficiently, there’s not always a body there to go and make those notifications” for shorter projects, King said.

In the future, King said, the city may be able to alert residents of utility projects using Washington County’s new emergency notification system, which can send notices to residents via email, home phone, cellphone or other device, depending on their preferences. Initially, the system is being used for emergency alerts, but county officials have said it will eventually be used for other notifications, and the city is interested in participating in that application, King said.

 — 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 email the information to lindad@herald-mail.com.

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.

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