Georgia Ave. in Lansdowne gets county makeover to help curb flooding

"It's about time," Dennis Miller said early last week, referring to a $1 million construction project underway in Baltimore Highlands on Georgia Avenue off Annapolis Road.

Like others on the street, Miller is happy to see the widening and repaving of Georgia Avenue from Annapolis Road to Baltimore Street and the installation of new drainage systems, curbs and gutters.

"I grew up here, so I've seen a lot of changes here," the Georgia Avenue resident said.

"It's going to be so nice when they get it done," he said. "It's a plus any way you look at it. It's an inconvenience, but it's a plus."

He said that, in addition to a number of bad potholes, parking on the road had become a big challenge.

"It'll make the neighborhood look a little better," Miller said. "I can't wait until it's over."

Rahee Famili, chief of highway design for Baltimore County's Department of Public Works, has been working closely with contractors and residents to ensure the project will be a benefit for the community.

The biggest reason for the county-funded improvements is the poor drainage that has plagued the area for years, he said.

"Some people experience some flooding in their yards, and in their houses and stuff," Famili said. "So that's why they started this project.

"We're going to confine all the drainage in the road, so that all the water that falls in the road is going to go to inlets and pipe drain systems and carried or taken to a stream," he said. "No water from the road is going to get on people's property any more."

He said a little bit of preliminary work was done on the project during the winter, but that things didn't really get started until this spring.

Famili said the project should be completed "by the fall."

"End of September should be safe date," he said.

Similar improvements will also be installed on Pennsylvania Avenue near Baltimore Street, on Washington Avenue and on a portion of Brian Street, Famili said.

Kathy Spittel, who lives in the 2900 block of Georgia Avenue, said she has significant personal experience with those drainage issues.

She has been living in her house with her husband, Steven Spittel, for 30 years. About three weeks ago, they decided to buy an above ground pool.

However, when they began digging a hole to install the pool, the ground was so saturated that they had what looked like a small pond in their backyard, Spittel said.

"We had to take the pool back because the water was so bad," she said. "That's how bad the water problem is around here.

"The further down you get, the worse it is," she said of Georgia Avenue's downhill grade.

Spittel said the county workers have been polite and helpful, making the construction process as free of hassle as it could be.

"They'll answer all your questions and tell you all that they can," she said. "They're really nice."

Despite having her car blocked in her driveway a few times by construction vehicles, and having part of her frontyard dug out to accommodate the road expansion, Spittel said she is thrilled to see the newly improved roadway.

"The curbs themselves will keep the water in the street now," she said. "Everybody is really looking forward to it being done, because of the water problem, and because of the aesthetic value."

Councilman Tom Quirk, whose 1st District includes Lansdowne as well as Arbutus and Catonsville, said he is happy to see the project nearing completion.

He said it is one that the area has needed for a long time.

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