Monday Breakdown - Bumpy conditions at city street crossings

August 04, 2013

A Hagerstown reader recently asked a question through Mail Call about bumpy conditions at city street crossings, specifically the intersection of U.S. 40 — which includes West Washington and West Franklin streets — and Burhans Boulevard.

“I wonder why the city cannot make smooth crossings at streets,” the reader said. “When you go on West Washington and West Franklin, where Burhans crosses it, you got these big humps and dips. Why can’t that be fixed? I seems like it would be an easy project.”

City Engineer Rodney Tissue said in an email that Washington and Franklin streets are state-maintained roads, but the city plans to have Burhans Boulevard between West Antietam and Church streets paved in September.

Heather Keels, spokeswoman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, had good news when contacted about the issue, saying “Hagerstown drivers should have a smoother crossing very soon” at those intersections.

Keels said in an email that money has been earmarked in the SHA’s current fiscal year budget, which runs through June 30, 2014, to repave West Washington and West Franklin streets from Nottingham Road to Walnut Street. The resurfacing project should be completed before the end of next June, provided preparation work can be completed in time, she said.

In regard to pavement condition, Keels said the “bumpy sensation” that motorists encounter is not uncommon as roads age, particularly for traffic on the lower-volume roadway.

“As the pavement gets older, slight ruts begin to form that generally are not noticeable unless you drive across them,” she said.

SHA officials use a vehicle equipped with laser technology called an Automated Road Analyzer, or ARAN, to check for ruts and other problems on every mile of state-maintained roadways every year, Keels said.

“This data is used in combination with staff reports and an annual tour by the chief engineer to prioritize pavement maintenance needs and maximize the resurfacing funding available,” she said.

People with concerns about particular road conditions, such as potholes, on numbered state routes can contact the SHA online at, under “Contact Us.”

— Compiled by C.J. Lovelace

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