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SHA I-70 Washington County Project Nears Completion

July 15th, 2014 by WCBC Radio

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is nearing completion of a two-year-long project to reconstruct the I-70 bridges over Conocochgeague Creek, west of Hagerstown. Weather permitting, traffic will be in its final configuration by the end of July.

The $16.5 million project includes replacing the structural steel and the decks (driving surface) of the towering 55-foot-high bridges, as well as widening the support piers. Construction began in June 2012.

“This bridge rehabiltiation, together with its twin project on the bridges over MD 63, has been one of the largest projects SHA has undertaken in Washington County, and we are excited to announce it is nearing completion,” SHA District Engineer Anthony Crawford said. “These projects will add decades to the service lives of the bridges while improving safety with the addition of wider shoulders.”

The project widened the eastbound and westbound I-70 bridges by 21 feet each to include wide shoulders.  This will give motorists space to pull over during emergencies and allow room for the potential future addition of a third lane. The bridges carry an average of 56,000 vehicles per day.

Over the next few weeks, motorists will encounter shifting lanes and new traffic patterns at the Conococheage bridges as crews complete the final paving. Landscaping work for the project will be completed in the fall. SHA’s contractor for the Conococheage Creek bridge project is Concrete General of Gaithersburg.

Another project a mile east of the Conococheague bridges, construction on the I-70 bridges over MD 63, is expected to be complete this fall. For work zone safety, the 55 mph reduced speed limit and Maryland SafeZones automated enforcement will remain in place on I-70 until the completion of that project. The contractor for the bridges over MD 63 is C. William Hetzer, Inc. of Hagerstown.

While SHA and its partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to actively modify his or her driving style to help prevent crashes. Stay alert – look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers. Slow down and don't follow too closely. Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone!

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