East Main Street construction will take a break for winter Project ends year ahead of schedule

November 22, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Construction work that has blocked sections of Westminster's East Main Street for the past five months was scheduled to shut down for the winter Saturday.

Meanwhile, Main Street reopened for traffic Nov. 15, a week ahead of schedule, reported Ron Ritz, State Highway Administration project engineer. Overall, the construction project is ending the year at least a month ahead of schedule, he said.

The two-year, $3.15 million project that began in April will replace aging utility lines and reconstruct Main Street from Longwell Avenue to Washington Road and Washington Road to Quintal Drive.

The street closings affected residents, merchants, firefighters and motorists.

Westminster Postmaster Richard F. Jozwiak estimates that walk-in sales at the Main Street post office were down 8 percent from the $130,000 monthly average.

"But we survived," Mr. Jozwiak said. He said that although some customers went to more accessible post offices to buy stamps and money orders while the street was closed, he expects business to rebound.

The postmaster said mail delivery schedules were not affected by the street work. Customers and postal service employees used Longwell Avenue to enter the post office parking lot during the eight weeks last summer while the Main Street entrance was closed.

City government officials objected to SHA's closing the busy intersection of Main and Center streets in October. But that work, originally scheduled for 1994, is now finished, Mr. Ritz said.

The intersection was closed for 3 1/2 weeks while C&P Telephone Co. crews completed underground duct work, and construction workers graded the road and installed curbs and gutters.

Contractors had crews working 12- to 14-hour days, six days a week, to finish work at the intersection, Mr. Ritz said. The SHA beat its Nov. 5 target date for reopening by seven days.

Mr. Ritz said SHA officials realize that road construction work inconveniences motorists and affects businesses.

"But it's like anything else. You can only let things go for so long before you have to fix it," he said.

Employees of contractor T. C. Simons Inc. of Fallston spent last week doing final wrap-up work on brick pavers -- concrete blocks that resemble brick to give sidewalks and crosswalks a historic "brick paving" appearance.

Reconstruction work on East Main Street is scheduled to resume April 15.

But Mr. Ritz said work could start earlier if weather permits because SHA wants to finish the project by Oct. 15.

The reason for the rush is that bids are to be advertised next November for reconstruction work on Pennsylvania Avenue from Union Street to Sullivan Avenue.

"We don't want to have both ends of town torn up at the same time," Mr. Ritz said.

Although the reconstruction work on East Main Street is finished for the winter, contractors' crews are expected to return to Westminster shortly after New Year's Day.

They will be tying new storm drainage pipes into existing pipes on Green, Bishop and Sycamore streets. The work will not require street closings, Mr. Ritz said.

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