Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Sept. 13, 2004

Colesville construction poses problems

by Varun Gulati, Page Editor
Long-term construction along U.S. Route 29 has caused severe congestion and sparked criticism, according to local businesses and residents. The project, which began in 2002, is being carried out in three major areas including Briggs Chaney, Randolph Road and MD Route 198.

Construction debris has impacted local neighborhoods, according to residents of the Avonshire Community, which is located off of Briggs Chaney Road. "It's very annoying. They make it into a mess...all that junk and dirt," said Stephanie Green, who is a local of the area.

Ayanna Jones, who also lives in Avonshire, is upset by the noise disturbance as a result of construction in her community. "There's loud noise early in the morning. It starts around 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. The whole house shakes," she said.

Used car salesmen Phil Hertzburg and Randy Anastasi, who own a dealership at the Briggs Chaney Auto Mall, are also especially perturbed by the machine-made sounds. "They got the nasty bing-bing going on," said Hertzburg.

Other negative impacts on their business include dirt from construction work sticking to their cars, machinery and mounds of dirt blocking their building and trees and the Briggs Chaney Auto Mall sign being taken down by the SHA. "I think it's caused our business to go down. We don't have room for parking for cars, for customers or for service lanes," Anastasi added.

Retaining walls along Randolph Road have blocked signs for businesses as well, says Judy Freeman of Long and Foster. She also stated that not much progress appears visible. "I don't see too many people working. They do things very slowly," Freeman said.

According to Bernard Duane, who is the District 3 Area Engineer for construction on MD Route 198, the State Highway Administration (SHA) has not received any complaints about noise and acknowledges the fact that businesses have been impacted but not interrupted by the construction. "It is our goal to maintain traffic to businesses at all times," said Duane. Tom Sistik, who is the District 3 Office Engineer for construction at Randolph Road, said, too, that the SHA is unaware of any accident, congestion, business, homeowner or commuter problems.

Work on Route 29 has been designed to cause minimal impact on commuters, and as such, lane closures normally occur during off-peak hours, said Duane. "There have been several occasions when the lane closures could not be removed on time," he admitted, however. Several commuters have also suffered from flat tires from potholes, and there has been one motorcycle fatality that happened within construction limits, though not during construction activity, Duane said.

Construction along Randolph Road is 61 percent complete, and construction on Route 198 is about 65 percent complete, according to Duane and Sistik.

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