- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Calvert County Department of Public Works updated the county commissioners Tuesday on the status of 19 transportation and engineering, solid waste and water and sewer division projects under way for fiscal 2013.
The 19 projects presented to the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners are part of the county’s capital improvements project budget for fiscal 2013.
The reconstruction of Dowell Road in Solomons, which began more than 40 years ago according to Rai Sharma, the deputy director of the engineering division, is in progress, staff said.
Sharma explained that many people “have said, ‘It’s been going on for 40 years, I hope you can get it done.’”
Commissioners’ President Gerald W. “Jerry” Clark (R) said he and Commissioner Susan Shaw (R) have been working on the project for at least 10 of those years.
“There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I think I’m seeing that light now to some extent,” Sharma said.
The right of way negotiations and acquisitions are in progress. There are 62 properties to be acquired on Dowell Road, and Sharma said that by the end of the year, “we will have nine properties under our belt.”
The utility relocation is also in progress, according to the staff presentation.
There will be sidewalks on both sides of the roadway, which will be bikeable, Sharma said of the design. He added that the drainage problems that many Dowell Road residents have brought to his attention will be taken care of.
“They wanted that in writing from me,” Sharma said with a laugh.
The design of the project is 90 percent complete and is expected to be complete by summer 2013, with construction expected to begin later in 2013.
He said the estimated cost of construction is $5 million and the total project is estimated at $7.9 million. The construction funding is requested for fiscal 2014, according to the presentation.
“It’s pretty scary when you travel down that road,” Sharma said. “But once we improve it, it will be a high-class road.”
Improvements to Pushaw Station Road in Sunderland also have been a long time coming.
During an information meeting earlier in the year, Sharma said, residents were raising concerns about the sight distance issue and the narrowness of the road. “They were complaining about almost everything,” he said.
The grading of the road will be reduced from a 13.4 percent vertical grade to a 10 percent vertical grade by relocating about 800 feet of Pushaw Station Road, according to staff’s presentation.
Sharma said Terry Carlson, the director of public works, told him that during a snowstorm, “once you got in there, you could never come back out,” referencing salt trucks trying to travel the 13.4 percent vertical grade.
In addition, the road will be realigned for better sight distance, according to the presentation.
Sharma told the commissioners that “in the very near future,” the department will present them with another concept plan for their consideration.
Commissioner Evan Slaughenhoupt (R) said he was “encouraged” to see the department making some progress “because I think the residents that live on Pushaw Station Road have every reason to have the concerns that they expressed.”
Carlson added that the department has a “small master plan” that will be presented to the BOCC in the next few weeks for review.
The estimated total cost is $790,000.
Clark noted the volume of traffic that travels through the Mt. Hope Convenience Center located on Pushaw Station Road, to which Carlson said that it is the convenience center with the highest volume.
Improvements to the convenience center was another project presented to the BOCC. The goal is to improve public safety and reduce the traffic on Pushaw Station Road by keeping it moving, Sharma said.
The design is complete and, currently, the department is awaiting approval from the Maryland State Highway Administration.
Sharma said SHA is taking longer than anticipated, but as soon as the approval is given, “we should be good to go into construction.”
The estimated cost of the project is $2.6 million and is expected to begin in the summer of 2013.
Carlson told the commissioners that staff has already presented the entrances to the convenience center once to the Calvert County Planning Commission, where staff will be again in January for the project.
“I’m really glad to see that moving forward,” Shaw said. “That’s been a long time coming.”