Facelift for East Main Street CARROLL COUNTY

January 25, 1993

Next month, the projected 1 1/2 -year reconstruction of East Main Street and Washington Road in Westminster will begin. When the digging, paving and planting is finished come fall 1994, the streets' appearance will be improved -- although maybe not to everyone's satisfaction. Utility poles and overhead wiring will remain.

As much as Westminster city officials may have wanted to bury the overhead wiring, they have decided it is just too costly. The price ranged from $2 million (if the poles were moved to the rear of the buildings along the street) to as much as $4 million (to bury the wires.)

When East and West Main were rebuilt years ago, the city could have passed half the cost of burying power lines to the utility companies, under a state ruling. That ruling is no longer in force. Also, federal money was available then to improve streetscapes. Still, the current plans do call for the utility companies to reduce the number of poles and the jumble of wiring along the street, which should be for the better.

Other aesthetic improvements will be made as well. On parts of Washington Road, curbs and gutters will be constructed where there aren't any. Planting areas will be created. Virtually all of the existing trees will be saved, and about 100 additional trees will be planted.

In addition to the street rebuilding, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. will be installing a new gas main, and the city will replace two aging water mains. BG&E will begin its work next month. Public Works Director Thomas Beyard said this phase shouldn't be too disruptive because rather than tearing up large stretches of the thoroughfare, the utility company will work its way down the street in small segments. Neither should the water main installation be too much of an annoyance.

When the actual reconstruction of the street begins next summer, large portions of the road will be closed, however, and that work will continue into November. Construction will be suspended next winter and resume the following spring. If the schedule is met, the project will wrap up in 1994.

Details of the street reconstruction project will be addressed at a meeting at 7 tonight in City Hall. In the meantime, Westminster residents and businesses will have to gird themselves for months of construction noise, dirt and aggravation.

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