A contractor began to take down a house slated for demolition as part of a highway upgrade project in Aberdeen Tuesday and then abruptly stopped when the crew found some hidden asbestos.
The home, at the corner of Route 22 and Graceford Drive, is one of 18 to be razed along Route 22 (Aberdeen Thruway) between Beards Hill Road and the Aberdeen Proving Ground gate in conjunction with BRAC-related intersection improvements along the highway.
The ranch-style home at 355 Graceford was slated to be the first home demolished, according to a Maryland State Highway Administration media advisory sent Monday afternoon.
Shortly after 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, as scheduled, a track-hoe put a hole in the home's roof with a dump truck standing by to cart off the debris. At that point, however, the crew stopped working and was later observed sitting on of the equipment's tracks, as if waiting for further instructions.
SHA spokesman Dave Buck said there was "a very minor issue" with hidden asbestos discovered when the hole was put in the roof.
"We have an asbestos contractor who has been called and there should be just a few hour delay," Buck said around 10:30 a.m. "The asbestos will be disposed of appropriately. It was in a place they couldn't see, so they didn't know about it beforehand."
The SHA plans to improve the intersections at Beards Hill, Paradise (Route 462) and Old Post roads, with the improvements expected from $7 million to $10 million per intersection, according to SHA. Significant utility relocations are also involved in the project.
When the scope of the work was made public last June, several homeowners said they were shocked to learn their homes were going to be razed. Last month, an SHA spokesman said all but two or three of the homes slated for demolition had been acquired and most would be vacant by the middle of the month. The homes were not expected to be demolished all at once, the SHA spokesperson said at the time.