$42.6 million road project to begin at APG

Despite a shortfall in transportation revenue, Maryland is about to launch a $42.6 million intersection improvement project near the Aberdeen Proving Ground - the first project to improve access to the base in preparation for an influx of thousands of workers whose jobs are moving to Harford County under the Pentagon's Base Relocation and Closure program. Gov. Martin O'Malley and other high-ranking officials will gather in Aberdeen on Friday to announce that the State Highway Administration will break ground next fall on a series of upgrades at U.S. 40, Route 715 and other roads near the base. They will include the widening of Route 715, the main road to the base gate, from four lanes to six and an upgrade of the U.S. 40-Route 715 junction to a full interchange. The widening is expected to be complete in 2011 and the rest of the project in 2012.

- Michael Dresser

GBMC head stepping down for Pa. hospital position

The president and CEO of Greater Baltimore Medical Center is stepping down after a decade on the job to take over the helm of a hospital in Pennsylvania. Laurence M. Merlis is leaving GBMC HealthCare to become president and chief executive officer of Abington Health and Abington Memorial Hospital in Montgomery County, Pa. Over the course of his tenure, Merlis created an affiliation between the Towson health system and Johns Hopkins Medicine in such clinical areas as cardiology and pediatric surgery. His resignation is effective Jan. 31. Dr. John Saunders Jr., a surgeon and GBMC's chief of staff since October 2004, will serve as interim CEO while a search committee works to find a successor, expected to be named within six months, said GBMC spokesman Michael Schwartzberg. GBMC HealthCare includes the 300-bed community hospital, Gilchrist Hospice Care, the GBMC foundation and more than 40 physician practices.

- Kelly Brewington

'Sanitary overflows' reported in four city locations

The heavy rains of recent days have caused considerable problems in Baltimore's overtaxed sewage system. Department of Public Works spokesman Kurt Kocher said four "sanitary overflows" occurred Thursday - in the 400 and 1800 blocks of E. Eager St., the 1700 block of E. Chase St. and the 1700 block of Falls Road. They were reported about 6 a.m. and stopped less than five hours later, he said. The combined spillage was estimated at more than 42,000 gallons. Much of it drained away, and the rest was cleaned up by city crews. Kocher said that the contents of sewage pipes are generally a "well-diluted" mix of household effluents from kitchens, washing machines and bathrooms.

- Nick Madigan

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