Route 24 work at state park proceeds slowly

The contractor working to stabilize part of Route 24 (Rocks Road) in northern Harford County's Rocks State Park is expected to begin the diversion of adjoining Deer Creek this week, so a new retaining wall can be constructed, a State Highway Administration spokesperson said.

Although the actual construction has yet to get under way, the project is on schedule, the SHA's Charlie Gischlar said.

Gischlar said the contractor, Corman Construction of Annapolis Junction, would be placing sandbags in Deer Creek Wednesday through Friday this week, weather permitting, for the temporary diversion.

"This is for work on the southern [stream] slope reconstruction," Gischlar explained. "Once the diversion is in place, crews can begin excavating the failing southern slope of Deer Creek and begin installing the bio-engineered reinforced slope, which is rebuilt with native vegetation to help keep soil in place."

If weather cooperates, the work on the new bio-engineered slope can commence in two and half to three weeks, Gischlar said Tuesday.

About a mile of Route 24, between Rocks Chrome Hill Road and St. Clair Bridge Road in Street, has been closed to traffic since the end of July and will remain closed until the end of this year, the project's expected completion date.

Gischlar said the past month has been spent staging equipment and materials for the project and waiting for utility relocations to be completed, for which there were some delays. Large sandbags, that Gischlar said are needed for the creek diversion, were lining the side of the closed portion of the road late last week.

"We are expecting the project to meet the expected completion date, as long as the weather cooperates," he said.

A fairly lengthy detour is in place for motorists who normally use Route 24 as a direct travel route between the Forest Hill and Pylesville areas. The detour uses Routes 23 and 165.

With a new school year starting Monday, four bus routes have been adapted to take the road closure into account, according to Jillian Lader, manager of communications for Harford County Public Schools.

"All detours will utilize roads that we currently travel on and contractors as well as bus drivers have been made aware of the modifications to their routes," Lader said.

In addition to shoring up a portion of the Deer Creek bank to protect Route 24, the $6.2 million project also involves grading a parking lot along Rocks Road and milling and resurfacing of some parts of the road.

Rocks State Park has not been affected by the road project, except that the detour has limited the parking options for access to the park's famed King and Queen Seat rock formation.

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