Political lobbying bumps up Norwood Road construction timeline -- Gazette.Net



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After some “nudging” by local legislators, it appears that the construction project at Norwood Road and Doctor Bird Road in Sandy Spring is back on track, and could be completed by November 1.

On Friday, Del. Craig Zucker (D-Dist. 14) of Brookeville announced the project that earlier had been wrought with delays that could have set it back until spring 2014 now is just a few months from an anticipated completion date.

“The Secretary of the Department of Transportation, Jim Smith, understood our concerns and did what he could to get the project back on track,” said Zucker. “This was a District 14 team effort by Delegates Anne Kaiser and Eric Luedtke, Senator Karen Montgomery and myself, and certainly a priority for our district. The community made their voices heard, and the Department of Transportation stepped up. That’s how we get things done here.”

Residents of the area, who had been frustrated by the delays, welcomed the news.

“On behalf of Sandy Spring Civic Association we are very pleased with [the SHA’s] decision and the attention of the District 14 Delegation to concerns by the Sandy Spring Civic Association about the delay in completing the project,” said John Salzberg, president of the Sandy Spring Civic Association. “Delegate Craig Zucker’s persistence on the issue was greatly appreciated as was Maryland State Highway Administration’s willingness to move up the completion date for the project.”

Earlier this month, State Highway Administration spokesman Christopher Bishop said the project had suffered from several delays — some scheduled as planned shutdowns, and others unanticipated, such as waiting for fire hydrants and utility poles to be relocated.

After a rainy spring, it was determined that an additional guardrail was needed, as were design changes to address drainage issues.

Bishop said that because the project had come to a halt while waiting for design changes to be approved, it would not be completed until the end of 2013, or possibly spring of 2014. Bishop now says the Nov. 1 completion date “sounds about right.”

Construction began last summer, and was originally expected to be complete by late fall of 2012.

The $1.25 million project includes the installation of a full traffic signal at the intersection. It also has a left-turn lane from eastbound Doctor Bird Road onto Norwood Road; a right-turn lane from westbound Norwood Road onto Doctor Bird Road; and pedestrian signals that feature audio and visual countdowns.

Other parts of the project are straightening the curve along a 150-foot portion of Doctor Bird Road just north of Norwood Road; adding 15 feet of pavement to either side of the road for shoulders and a bike lane; road resurfacing; curb and gutter work; sidewalks; and landscaping.

thogan@gazette.net