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Robinwood Drive project detailed at public meeting

Traffic information now available online

September 10, 2013|By C.J. LOVELACE | cj.lovelace@herald-mail.com

A legion of orange barrels littering the pavement on Robinwood Drive east of Hagerstown have prompted a large influx of telephone calls to Washington County offices in recent weeks.

To address those questions and provide further details about the ongoing Robinwood Drive Corridor II construction project, the county held an informational meeting Tuesday night at Hagerstown Community College.

“Anytime we take two lanes of roadway, put hundreds of drums up, change the direction that people are going and ... the lanes they have to use, there’s going to be some confusion,” Robert Slocum, deputy director of county public works, said after the meeting at HCC’s Kepler Theater.

The project involves the widening of Robinwood Drive from two to four lanes between Medical Campus Road and HCC’s Academic Boulevard. Plans call for a new roundabout to be installed at the entrance to HCC, where a signal currently hangs.

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Only about a dozen people turned out for the meeting, and just two questions were asked of Slocum during the 40-minute session.

Slocum detailed the project’s goals, funding sources and estimated timeline, which is split into three phases.

Since beginning a few months ago, Phases 1 and 1A involve improvements along the western side of Robinwood Drive — the side closer to HCC — and at the entrance of the community college. The first round of work is scheduled to be completed by midwinter or early spring of 2014, Slocum said.

Phase 2 work, which will shift over to the eastern side of the roadway, is slated to be wrapped up by midsummer of 2014.

The completion of Phase 3, which deals predominantly with the medians and central portions of pavement once the outer portions are finished, is expected by winter 2014 or early 2015 at the latest, Slocum said.

Questions during the meeting included addressing accessibility issues of driveways after work is completed and further plans to extend the four-lane portion of Robinwood Drive to Jefferson Boulevard.

Slocum said plans for the extension to Jefferson Boulevard are still in a conceptual stage, and capital improvement funds have been tentatively programmed for 2020.

About 17,000 vehicles travel along Robinwood Drive on a daily basis, driven chiefly by Meritus Medical Center and the growth and expansion of HCC, Slocum said.

“HCC is a large traffic generator,” he said.

A $7.8 million construction contract for the project was awarded in June to Milani Construction LLC, based in Washington, D.C., although Slocum pointed out that the overall cost for the entire corridor improvement is closer to about $10 million.

The Robinwood Drive work is part of a larger multiphase transportation “network” project that aims to relieve traffic congestion and increase travel capacity to that area, county officials said.

Future plans include the extension of Yale Drive to the rear of HCC, providing a second access point. That project is expected to go out for bids in the coming months, Slocum said.

A website — www.robinwoodproject.com — has been set up by the county to help keep people up-to-date with changing traffic patterns as the project progresses.

People can sign up for text alerts by sending the message “WashCoRoads” to 77948. Updates also will be provided via social networking sites, like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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