“Weather permitting,” the Route 22 construction project in Aberdeen should be finished by early August at the latest, a state highway official said this week.
The paving trucks should be gone in the next four weeks, Jesse Free, assistant district engineer for construction in District 4 for the Maryland State Highway Administration, told the Aberdeen mayor and city council at their meeting Monday night.
The SHA representatives visit was a surprise to Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady and City Manager Randy Robertson, who said they weren’t expecting them.
State. Sen. Robert Cassilly, who gave the mayor and council an update on the last Maryland General Assembly session and what he’s been doing since, said he invited the SHA staff to come.
“The last time I was here, Route 22 was an issue,” Cassilly said. “I know they’ve been working hard, and I think they’re as frustrated as we are. They wanted the project wrapped up six months ago, at least. There’s a lot of empathy with your levels of frustration.”
The $46 million Route 22 reconstruction project started in 2014 and involved widening portions of Aberdeen’s main four-lane thoroughfare, which required acquiring and razing 18 dwellings, as well as building noise-reduction walls and making extensive improvements to the intersections at Beards Hill, Paradise and Old Post roads.
“I’m still not happy with where we are on Route 22, and none of you are either,” Cassilly said. “The latest estimate is June-July for completion. I remember when it was February, and April. I will continue to work with you all and the state to push that through.”
Free is hopeful the project will stick to the newest schedule.
“By mid-July or the first of August at the very latest, we should be completely out of here and done. That includes the punch list and everything,” Free said.
The weather has not been cooperating this spring, he said.
After a lot of rain over the last month and a half to two months, then cold weather, getting any work done has been difficult.
“Let’s hope it breaks this week and we can get some paving done and get the final striping done,” Free said.
Early in the week, they were “wedging” both projects, Free said.
Wedge and leveling a material that is placed between the existing surface that puts the roadway in sections to allow for paving, according to Shantee Felix, a spokesperson for SHA.
The process takes the bumps and dips out of the road and is how the two projects (Beards Hill and Paradise Road) are connected. Wedge and leveling must be done on both projects before surface paving can begin. Felix said.
Construction crews were out working Monday night with various lane closures between Interstate 95 and Paradise Road.
The wedging and leveling and final paving will all be done at night, Felix said.
McGrady said the city “is still getting beat up about the traffic” caused by the road construction.
There have been a few more glitches as the project nears completion, Free admitted.
A few weeks ago, a signal adjustment at Beards Hill Road and Route 22 made one day caused a left-turn signal not to work the next morning.
“We got it straightened out,” Free said.
There was also an issue at Paradise Road and Route 22 last week that was supposed to be corrected by Tuesday morning.
“We’re going to get it straight,” he said.
Darlene Robertson, wife of the city manager, told SHA representatives she was confused by the lane and signal configuration at Post Road and Route 22.
There are two left turn lanes, she said, but only one left-turn signal, and she has seen drivers in one of the left-turn lanes go straight when the signals turned green, causing problems.
“The spacing of the lights is confusing,” Robertson, who lives on Beards Hill Road, said.