By Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun
10:33 AM EDT, September 15, 2013
City officials are reminding residents that repairs planned for the Jones Falls Expressway — and nightly closures of lanes associated with that project — will begin Monday.
Overnight for the next 10 months, work to replace aging rubber bridge joints and damaged concrete barriers will close lanes intermittently along large stretches of the highway, officials said. The $5 million project will cause delays, and officials urge drivers to use alternate routes or plan added travel time.
Joint-repair work on the JFX, between 41st and East Fayette streets, will begin on the southbound side and will close two lanes each weeknight between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., officials said. When those repairs are complete, work will begin on the northbound side, likely starting this winter.
Concrete barrier repairs on the JFX will be focused on a stretch of the northbound side — the sharp curve around Mount Royal Avenue near Pennsylvania Station — and will cause an around-the-clock closure of the right lane for about 10 weeks starting Sept. 16, officials said. The repairs will close the ramp onto the highway from East Madison Street and the Fallsway for the same period.
Vehicles frequently lose control and crash into or scrape against the barriers at the curve, officials said, and it's time for the barriers to be replaced. The project will include installing permanent flashing signs warning drivers of the sharp curve, he said.
On the nights of Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 16 and Sept. 17, a second right lane of the JFX will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., from Howard Street to Gay Street, while crews prepare the construction area for the barrier repairs, officials said.
JFX travelers faced similar lane closures in spring 2012 when the city needed to replace collapsed drainage pipes under the highway near 29th Street, which caused erosion that threatened to create a catastrophic sinkhole. That work lasted from mid-April to late May.
More than 1,000 drivers per hour use the JFX each way after 9 p.m. on weekdays, though that number falls to as low as about 100 an hour overnight, city officials said. The city will foot the $5 million bill, with the help of state and federal transportation funding, Weaver said.
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