Massive Baltimore Area Project Moves Forward

One of the challenges with the project is managing the widening of a major road while keeping all through lanes open during rush hours.

📅   Tue April 21, 2015 - Northeast Edition
Brenda Ruggiero - CEG CORRESPONDENT


A new stormwater pond is under way on the U.S. 29 expansion project.
A new stormwater pond is under way on the U.S. 29 expansion project.
A new stormwater pond is under way on the U.S. 29 expansion project. Crews work on a new stormwater drainage pipe on the U.S. 29 expansion project. A Caterpillar excavator assists with a sound wall installation. A $32.7 million project is moving forward in Maryland’s Howard County to widen 3 mi. (4.8 km) of northbound U.S. 29 from Seneca Drive to south of MD 175.

A $32.7 million project is moving forward in Maryland’s Howard County to widen 3 mi. (4.8 km) of northbound U.S. 29 from Seneca Drive to south of MD 175. Howard County provided $2 million to advance the widening project, which was the first major project funded by the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 to begin construction in the county.

“One year after signing the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, we are delivering major Baltimore area transportation projects that will relieve congestion, improve safety and create jobs,” said then Gov. Martin O’ Malley at the May 25, 2014, groundbreaking. “U.S. 29 is a vital roadway connecting and strengthening the economic development opportunities of the Baltimore and Washington regions. Breaking this bottleneck in Howard County will enhance travel and commerce along this highway, and allow families to spend more time together and less time stuck in traffic.”

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) awarded the contract to American Infrastructure Inc., based in Worcester, Pa., and it is currently on schedule for a summer 2016 finish. Joe Hockersmith is the project manager, and Paul Calvaresi is the field superintendent.

According to David Buck, media manager of the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), one of the challenges with the project is managing the widening of a major road while keeping all through lanes open during rush hours. Specifically, he listed the following: “traffic control, the amount of traffic, switching traffic from side to side while traffic is still flying by, [and] coordination between all parties (most importantly the public and local residents).”

One unique aspect of the project is that the contractor is using a new base material, which will be placed and compacted on 1.5 mi. (2.4 km) of the new road on the northern end of the project beginning just after the little Patuxent bridge to north of Broken Land parkway.

“Also, we generally would build the noise barrier walls first,” he said. “However, there is not enough room to build the noise walls first without building the new widened section of the roadway towards the median.”

The contract also calls for construction of a sound wall and the realignment of a ramp to improve safety and sight distance.

The project includes 1.7 mi. (2.7 km) of drainage pipe, more than 130 drainage structures, 3.5 mi. (5.6 km) of under drain pipe, 30,000 tons (27,216 t) of asphalt, and approximately $1 million in landscaping.

Large drill rigs were used for drilling the cassions that serve as the foundations of the barrier posts and supports. The contractor reported that a lot of rock was encountered during the project drainage pipe installations.

According to Buck, one of the keys to this project is “safety, safety, safety. There are many challenges we encounter during construction that are handled using our partnering process. Also, we always try to look ahead to see potential conflicts within the project so we can address them early to avoid delay and minimize any additional costs to the Maryland taxpayers.”

Subcontractors include Chesapeake Pile Driving Inc., Erosion Control & Landscape Services, J & M Sweeping, Long Fence, Mattiola Services LLC, McKinney Drilling Co. Inc., Mohawk Bridge & Iron Inc, Native Terrain Restoration Services, Paul J. Rach Inc., RNG Construction, Recycled Green Industries, Road Safety LLC, Robert F. Beall & Sons Inc., Seed & Site Solutions, Snyder Environmental Services Inc., Stolar Construction Inc., Surface Preparation Technologies LLC, Underground Services Inc., and Zone Striping Inc.