Members of the Harford County Council, in response to recent complaints from residents about ongoing work on Route 22 near Churchville have been in touch with State Highway Administration officials about the project, which is currently “a little ahead of schedule” and slated to be complete in the spring.
State contractors have been working on Route 22 between the intersections of Prospect Mill Road and Thomas Run/Schucks Road near Harford Community College, part of an ongoing project that involves resurfacing the highway between Thomas Run and Route 136 — that phase was completed in 2018 — and then more intensive work between Thomas Run and Prospect Mill.
The second phase includes widening Route 22 between those two intersections, as well as access and safety improvements for pedestrians and bicycle riders, plus people with disabilities, upgrading traffic signals and making drainage and stormwater management infrastructure improvements.
Members of the council contacted officials at the SHA’s District 4 office, which serves Baltimore and Harford counties, on Tuesday after receiving several complaints from Harford residents about traffic conditions on Route 22 near the college. Concrete barriers are visible along the sides of the highway as adjacent land is prepared for expansion and new stormwater management infrastructure is installed.
“We know that there’s extra demand on that area because of Schucks Road being closed,” Council President Patrick Vincenti said during the council’s legislative session Tuesday evening.
Harford County officials announced in late July that Schucks Road will be closed at the intersection with Edwards Lane, south of the intersection of Schucks and Route 22, from Aug. 12 to Nov. 20 so county workers can make “geometric improvements” such as adjusting the road grade and upgrading the storm drains to enhance the safety and “drivability” of the intersection, according to a notice posted on the county and Harford Community College websites.
Traffic flow along Route 22 was a major concern for local motorists, as the highway improvements, as well as the county’s closure of a section of Schucks Road, happened around the same time Harford County Public Schools’ 2019-2020 school year began on Sept. 3, according to Vincenti.
“Everything came together, I guess, to make a perfect storm there,” the council president said in a follow-up interview Thursday.
The state’s Route 22 project is “moving along nicely,” however, as construction crews have been working at night, Vincenti said, citing reports from SHA district officials.
“They have the intersections moving along at Prospect Mill Road and Thomas Run Road, and they seem to be a little ahead of schedule,” he said Tuesday.
The contractor is proceeding with installation of stormwater management infrastructure, and some grading work was scheduled for this week in front of the McDonald’s and Richard’s Fish & Crabs restaurants, both of which are at Schucks and Route 22, Vincenti said.
State officials anticipate having a “base coating” of new paving completed on the expanded Route 22 by the late fall or early winter, and hope to have the final placement of blacktop and lane striping done by next spring, Vincenti said.
“This is a project that will provide congestion relief and safety improvements with the widening of [Route] 22 and the addition of bicycle compatible shoulders and sidewalk upgrades,” SHA spokesperson Shantee Felix wrote in an email Thursday.
Felix noted that “the project is expected to be largely complete by the end of the year, and crews will revisit it in the spring for any minor maintenance work.”
Vincenti recalled a meeting last month with SHA district officials, members of Harford’s legislative delegation in Annapolis and County Council members regarding the scope and timeline of the agency’s Route 22 project.
“Provided [there are] no major weather setbacks, we should be moving right along,” he said Thursday.