The Harford County government is getting ready to rehabilitate, widen and repave the stretch of Moores Mill Road on Bel Air’s north side between Route 1/Hickory Avenue and Route 924/Rock Spring Road.
Moores Mill is one of the more heavily used roads in the greater Bel Air area, and the seven-tenths of a mile stretch between Routes 1 and 924 is narrow, curvy and most of its surface is beat up.
The extensive work, which is expected to start next month, will close the road to through traffic and necessitate detours, a county administration spokesperson said.
On Tuesday, the county Board of Estimates awarded a $2.5 million contract for reconstruction, repair and resurfacing of the road and related work to Allan Myers, of Fallston, which submitted the lowest of four bids.
The contract also includes almost $70,000 to relocate water lines, which will be reimbursed by Maryland American Water Co., owner of the lines. The contract also includes repairs and resurfacing along Maye Field Drive, according to the contract documents.
“We expect work to start in mid-to-late September with completion by spring/summer 2019,” county administration spokesperson Cindy Mumby said via email Wednesday.
There will be 120 working days and weather may affect the completion date, she said.
Relocation of utility poles and overhead lines, necessary to widen the roadway, is not part of the county contract, but is being handled by the utilities themselves, according to Mumby.
New poles already have been installed away from the extended right-of-way and Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. transferred its power lines to the new poles, she said. Verizon still has to move its lines, and has given the county a completion date of Nov. 1.
In addition to widening the roadway, sidewalks will be installed along the north side of Moores Mill west from the Del Plaza Center, where a new sidewalk has already been installed, Mumby said.
During construction, local traffic use will be maintained at all times, according to Mumby. Once the work starts, however, the road will be closed to through traffic at all times.
She said they don’t have a firm date when the closure to through traffic will begin, but the closure will be announced in advance, and detour routes will be in place.
The county previously completed expensive reconstruction and resurfacing of Moores Mill Road between Southampton Road and Route 1 in 2014. But the second section of the project has been fraught with delays involving acquisition of rights-of-way, including from Bel Air Memorial Gardens.
All the necessary rights-of-way have been obtained, Mumby said.
During a budget review session with the County Council in late April, a county public works department representative said the project would be advertised for bid within two months.
During that review session, Bel Air Mayor Susan Burdette complained about the lack of crosswalks at Route 1 and Moores Mill, which is heavily used by pedestrians. DPW pledged to work with the State Highway Administration to improve that situation, as the county contract includes extending sidewalks along Moores Mill west of Route 1.
Moores Mill Road is one of a group of so-called collector roads that forms a network permitting motorists to get around the outskirts of Bel Air without having to travel through the heart of town or along the busy Route 1 commercial strip.
In the past 30 years, traffic volumes have increased on Moores Mill and other Bel Air area roads such as Vale, Tollgate, Greenbrier and East and West MacPhail, a result of ongoing residential development in areas served directly by those roads, the majority of which are outside the Bel Air town limits and the responsibility of the county to maintain and upgrade when necessary.
According to county budget documents, more than $10 million has been budgeted in recent years to handle all the rehabilitation work along Moores Mill Road between Routes 22 and 924.