Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Highway Services Responds to Aftermath of Derecho

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett visited Silver Spring to survey damage caused by Friday’s storm. He thanked the crews who have been working non-stop since then to clear roads of trees, limbs and debris.
The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) provided special storm tree debris collections on County maintained roads in the the aftermath of the destructive derecho that occurred on June 29. The one-time collection was a special service provided to help residents with the massive clean up resulting from the storm.
DHS crews systematically followed the County’s 217 snow plow routes, picking up tree debris located within the County right-of-way. DHS’s storm operations map listed closed roads and allowed residents to track the progress of crews collecting debris.
Immediately following the storm, DHS sprang into action to clear blocked roads, but some streets remained closed for several days until PEPCO could remove power lines entangled in fallen trees.
Residents who still have tree debris to dispose may continue to bundle branches and tree limbs for County-provided trash and yard trim curbside collection or drop off items at the County’s Transfer Station. For information on cleanup instructions for fallen tree limbs, visit the Division of Solid Waste Services website.

Leggett Celebrates Completion of Seven Transportation Projects Paid for with Recovery Act Funds

recovery.org logoMontgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett celebrated the completion of a road repaving project that improved more than 43 miles on seven roadways using $6.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding. The funds employed 50 people; 47 by the paving contractor and three contract inspectors hired by the County. The selected roads were designated as high priority projects by the County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) because of their deteriorated condition. Overall, the County received nearly $168 million in ARRA funding for a variety of projects that have helped businesses get people back to work.  
Joining Leggett were County Council President Roger Berliner, County Councilmember Craig Rice, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and State Delegates Charles Barkley and Jim Gilchrist.
For the seven repaving projects, the Division of Highway Services (DHS) removed and replaced defective curbs, gutters, sidewalks and pavement surfaces; patched pavement; and installed pavement line markings and raised, reflective pavement markers.
The following were repaved:
  • More than 10 lane miles of Shady Grove Road from I-270 to Darnestown Road. Bike lanes and acceleration lanes were added and non-standard traffic barriers were replaced. ADA ramps were added to sidewalks.
  • Nearly 10 lane miles of Barnesville Road from Mt. Ephraim Road to Maryland Route 117. Safety improved with new traffic barriers and thermoplastic pavement markings.
  • About 4.5 miles of Randolph Road from east of Nebel Street to Rock Creek Bridge. Replaced existing sidewalk and ramps with standard sidewalks and ADA ramps. Installed new thermoplastic pavement markings with track symbols near railroad tracks.
  • About 3.6 lane miles of Forest Glen Road from Maryland Route 97 to Brunett Avenue. Improved pavement striping by adding bike lanes and a pedestrian crossing at the Sligo Creek intersection. Removed a ditch along the edge of the roadway, improving access and eliminating unsafe drop off. Installed standard concrete curb and gutters Replaced existing sidewalk and ramps with standard sidewalks and ADA ramps.
  • More than 10 lane miles of Old Columbia Pike from Maryland Route 198 to U.S. Route 29, Columbia Pike on-ramp. Replaced existing sidewalk and ramps with standard sidewalks and ADA ramps. Improved storm water drainage at various locations. Worked with Paint Branch High School to improve access for entrances and exits. Installed roadside traffic barriers protecting hazardous embankments.
  • Nearly five lane miles of Travilah Road from Dufief Road to River Road. Increased roadside safety with new traffic barriers and thermoplastic pavement markings, and improved operating conditions.
  • About 3.7 lane miles of Wightman Road from Brink Road to Goshen Road. Realigned the concrete median at the intersection of Montgomery Village Avenue, improving traffic flow. Repaired shoulder area at Great Seneca Park entrance across from Brink Road. Installed hot mix asphalt base to restore roadway integrity. Replaced roadside non-standard traffic barriers.

The County also received other ARRA funding for transportation projects, including $1.75 million to the Division of Traffic Engineering for four projects to improve traffic flow and traffic and pedestrian safety and $6.55 million to the Division of Transit Services to replace existing buses with 12 energy-efficient, diesel-electric hybrids and one clean diesel bus. The buses have been in service since November 2011. Transit also received $350,000 to purchase new bid/dispatch software that is increasing efficiency in managing work assignments and daily dispatching.
Information about other ARRA funds awarded to the County is available on the County’s website.

Leggett Joins Transit Task Force to Hear Public Comments on Rapid Transit Proposal

On July 12, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and the 15-member Transit Task Force he appointed held a public hearing, seeking comments on the plan developed by the Task Force to establish a 160-mile, innovative, “best-in-class” rapid transit system in Montgomery County. About 100 people attended, with 30 presenting testimony.

The Task Force is recommending that the rapid transit system be built in three phases over the next nine to 20 years to mitigate both construction and affordability issues. Leggett created the Transit Task Force in February 2011.

For highlights of the Task Force recommendations, see the County’s press release, read the full Transit Task Force’s report or view the MCDOT study of the concept.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Department of Transportation Begins New Residential Road Maintenance Projects

The Department of Transportation (MCDOT) began new road maintenance projects in local subdivisions in July and will add others in August. MCDOT will do full depth patching, remove the older road surface, and repave the roads with hot mix asphalt.
The following will be repaved, taking three to four weeks, depending on weather conditions:
  • Peachwood Subdivision, Silver Spring, began the week of July 16. 
  • Hoyles Addition, Gaithersburg, began in late July. 
  • South Four Corners, Kemp Mill, will begin in August. 
  • Medical Center Drive from Great Seneca Highway to Key West Avenue will begin in August. 
MCDOT will conduct the following pavement preservation projects, in which crews conduct full-depth patching of deteriorated pavement, seal cracks, and apply a micro-resurfacing material. Timing depends on weather conditions.
  • Bells Mill Road, Potomac, began the week of July 22 and will take one to two weeks to complete. 
  • Edson Lane, Rockville, began July 16 and will take one to two weeks to complete. 
  • Mahan Road and Ferrara Drive, Wheaton, began the week of July 23 and will take three to four weeks to complete. 
  • Heathfield Road, Marianna Drive and Parkland Drive, Aspen Hill, will begin in early August. 
  • Parkland Drive from Chesterfield Road to Aspen Hill Road began the week of July 23. 
  • Mariana Drive from Parkland Drive to Bauer Drive will begin the week of August 7. 
MCDOT is also working to repair sidewalks, concrete curbs, and gutters at:
  • Franklin Knolls, Silver Spring, which began in early July and should be completed by Fall 2013. 
  • Kingswell Community, Wheaton, which began in July and will take six to eight weeks to complete. 
For more information on resurfacing projects throughout the County, visit the Division of Highway Services’ website.

Silver Spring Garage 55 Closed on July 20 for 14 Months

Construction began on July 20 to extend Dixon Avenue through the Bonifant-Dixon Parking Garage (Public Parking Garage 55) in Silver Spring. The Bonifant Avenue entrance to the garage will be closed for about 14 months.

Parkers are encouraged instead to use the Dixon Avenue entrance to Garage 5, which is bounded by Dixon, Ramsey and Bonifant avenues. The garage has 1,240 public parking spaces. Metro Kiss-and-Ride spaces are located on the G Level of Garage 5.

Ride On Removes Champion Buses from Service

Following a July 18 fire on one of the County’s Champion buses, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett directed the Department of General Services to take all remaining Ride On Champion buses out of service -- permanently.

He said, “We are very fortunate that no one was injured [in today’s fire] and there were no passengers on the out-of-service bus. Staff has been working aggressively to find replacement buses for the Champions. A number of the buses have already been replaced.”

With about 30 buses immediately pulled from the bus fleet, Ride On ran a modified holiday schedule for four weekdays. The modified schedule provides about 80 percent of regular weekday service. The Department of General Services expedited preparing replacement buses and were able to put enough back on the road to restore regular weekday service on July 25. Some minor delays continued until July 30, when a full complement of buses was available for service.

Ride On has put in an order to purchase 28 new replacement buses, which should begin arriving in about a year.

Although regretting the disruption to passengers, Leggett said, “The bottom line is -- removing the buses from service was the right thing to do to ensure the safety of the public and our bus drivers.”