Road repair is going nowhere -- slowly

WATCHDOG

November 14, 2006|By Nick Shields

THE PROBLEM -- Neighbors in the Oella community near Catonsville wonder why a section along Oella Avenue remains closed after more than a year.

THE BACK STORY -- Residents report that the road's closure is an inconvenience for the neighborhood and adds to driving time and that the detour has created only confusion. They also are concerned that emergency vehicles might be delayed.

James Arford, chief of the structural design section of the Baltimore County Department of Public Works, acknowledged that people are inconvenienced by the closure and said it's unfortunate that it has taken as long as it has to fix. He said that in July 2005 the county closed an area near the road to all traffic when a retaining wall along Oella Avenue near Pleasant Hill Road began to collapse. He said the department thought a water line near the failing wall was in danger, which could wash away the road.

He said the county received a bid to fix the road in June, but that it was more than $1.7 million, about $1 million higher than the county expected. He said the county sought an engineer to find a more cost-effective way to fix the road but that a formal proposal was not submitted before the county's Oct. 20 deadline.

Arford said that the county could have a recommendation by Friday from an engineering consultant on the best way to fix the road. It was unknown when construction could actually start.

WHO CAN FIX IT -- James Arford, structural design chief, for the Baltimore County Department of Public Works, 410-887-3737.

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