80-foot Dirt Mound Threatens Bridge, Officials Say

Cut Landfill Back, Contractor Ordered

August 05, 1991|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff writer

The City of Baltimore has ordered a Glen Burnie contractor to cut an80-foot mound down to size.

The weight of Ed Suddreth's 32-acre dirt fill threatens to push the pilings right out from under the Patapsco Avenue bridge between the city and Brooklyn Park, a city officialsaid.

James Kapplin, a spokesman for the Baltimore Department of PublicWorks, said city and state officials ruled the eastbound bridge unsafe after finding cracks in the supports. Kapplin said the weight of the dirt was causing the ground beneath the bridge to shift.

The eastbound section of the bridge has been closed and traffic rerouted through the westbound lanes.

The city has ordered Suddreth, owner ofPatapsco Excavating, to move 100,000 cubic yards of dirt away from the bridge, lowering the portion of the mound nearest the bridge about30 feet.

No additional dirt will be allowed onto the site.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn Park residents wait for Suddreth to plant grass, trees and shrubs he promised two months ago on the barren, dirt slope facing their community.

"He can't plant anything until he moves the soil and can test the ground," Kapplin said. "(Planting) is on hold. You can't plant and move soil at the same moment."

West Meadow Road and Edgevale Road residents complained in June that dust, grit and grime blow off the hill through their backyards, clinging to their laundry, scratching the finish on their cars and yellowing their vinyl siding and windows.

Noise, they said, from rumbling diesel enginesand slamming tailgates skipped across the 20-foot-high sound barriers, which the state erected four years ago to protect the community from the Harbor Tunnel Thruway.

The dirt fill sits in Baltimore City, separated from Brooklyn Park by the Patapsco River and the Harbor Tunnel Thruway.

"Ever since we had a public meeting (June 12), it drew public attention and we haven't had the pounding and dust up there that we had," said state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, D-Brooklyn Park.

Judy Roberson of Edgevale Road said work stopped completely on the Brooklyn Park side of the hill until last week when several dump trucks returned. Roberson said residents are waiting for grass and trees to be planted on the slope to control the dust.

Mark Einstein, a real estate consultant and spokesman for Patapsco Excavating, said planting and landscaping should begin within 45 days.

He said Suddrethis waiting for cooler, damper, fall weather and to finish grading the slope opposite the residents.

Some dirt removed near the bridge will be dumped on the ridge opposite residents to slope the embankment properly to prevent erosion, Einstein said. But no new dirt will bebrought onto the site, he said.

Eventually, the site will be usedeither as a trailer storage yard or a golf park with driving ranges,softball fields, batting cages and miniature golf, he said.

Suddreth, owner of Patapsco Excavating, said he has operated the fill since 1980.

The bulk of the dirt at the fill has come in recent years from a subway extension, Camden Yards stadium construction, expansionof Johns Hopkins Hospital and light-rail construction.

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