County formalizes plan to check road conditions

August 17, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll officials have formalized a procedure to check the condition of county roads twice each year, in the spring and fall.

"We are studying the roads on a regular basis, doing a look over for roads that fall over carbonate rocks," Tom Devilbiss, a hydrogeologist for the county Bureau of Water Resource Management. "We've been doing these types of checks in the past, but we've sort of formalized it."

Mr. Devilbiss said that while the county would have adopted a more formal way to check the conditions of its roads anyway, the sinkhole on Route 31 that resulted in the death of Robert Wayne Knight in March brought the change more rapidly.

Mr. Knight drove into the sinkhole while on break from the overnight shift at his job at Westminster Water Treatment Plant.

"It's only been the last six months that we have drafted something. We were going to eventually formalize [the road checks] anyway, but I think [the accident] made it more immediate," Mr. Devilbiss said.

County workers look at portions of roads that are built on top of carbonate rocks, a type of material in which sinkholes often form, Mr. Devilbiss said.

Some portions of New Medford Road and Nicodemus Road are over carbonate rocks, he said.

"We also look to see if historically sinkholes have formed in those roads, or in roads adjacent to them," Mr. Devilbiss said. "And if the answer to those questions is yes, then we look at the road more closely."

State Highway Administration and Department of Natural Resource workers also are studying the Route 31 sinkhole.

Mr. Devilbiss said the county has offered assistance to the state.

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