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Drainage improvement project begins along Route 1 in Laurel

A project intended to significantly improve drainage along a section of Route 1 in Laurel is underway, State Highway Administration officials said Thursday.

Engineers hope the $10 million project will lessen the impact of flooding events on a half-mile stretch of the road between Ammendale Road and Ritz Way. Sections of the road, and sometimes the entire stretch, have had to be shut down about 10 times a year due to floods, according to SHA officials. Laurel's portion of Route 1 has been especially affected because it is set in a low-lying area, they said.

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"US 1 is a critical north-south link and when closed for flooding, adds extra traffic to local roadways in Laurel, creating significant delays for commuters," SHA District Engineer Brian Young said in a statement released by the agency. "When the project is completed, the roadway will not flood as easily, which improves motorist safety and will greatly reduce weather-related congestion."

Work on the road will include installing a new bridge as a replacement for an aging culvert pipe that funnels a tributary of Indian Creek under Route 1. SHA also plans to raise the profile of the road up to 4 feet, add 10 new storm drain inlets to increase drainage opportunities, upgrade the drainage pipes that currently exist under the road and resurface and restripe the highway. A pedestrian and bike path that runs parallel to Route 1 will be raised and widened from 8 to 10 feet.

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Construction will require single lane closures Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday through Thursday from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m., officials said. Ammendale Road will also be closed during most of the construction project. Motorists will instead follow a detour to Ritz Way.

The project is expected to be complete by spring 2016, according to officials.

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