Tuesday, April 17 – Route 50 Service Road Start Expected Next Month

SNOW HILL – Bids are in for the first phase of the
proposed Route 50 service road, with the lowest, accepted bid exceeding the
estimated cost.

“The low bid was 10-percent higher than we expected,” said
County Commissioner Judy Boggs.

However, the financial setback is not as bad as it could
have been, according to county staffers.

“I’ve seen worse. I’ve seen a lot worse,” said Public
Works Director John Tustin.

The accepted bid from George and Lynch, Inc. was for
$1,357,703. The original engineer’s estimate, $1,233,961, is about $123,000
less. Two other bids came in at $1.5 million and $1.9 million.

Building is expected to begin on phase 1a of the project
as soon as possible. Tustin anticipates that work will begin in the next three

“It would probably be in early May,” he said.

The first phase will start with turn lanes on the highway
and the reconfiguration of Holly Grove Rd. The road will be straightened out to
meet Route 50 in a 90-degree angle intersection. There will be two lanes in and
two out.

“There are no plans at the current time for any
signalization,” Tustin said.

Holly Grove Rd. will “tee into” the service road about 500
feet off Route 50, Tustin said.

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will be
heavily involved in inspecting the work, which will be designed to meet their
standards, Tustin said. Contractors will do the construction.

The agency will control work times as well, with work to
be finished by 3 p.m. Friday and not resume until Monday morning in order to
avoid conflicts with weekend traffic to the beach. As a result, the first phase
could take as many as seven months.

“Hopefully, they’ll be able to accelerate that,” Tustin

The entire project might take as long as five years to
complete. Plans call for the service road to run parallel to Route 50 along its
south side, eventually from Holly Grove Rd. to Seahawk Rd.

The road has been under consideration for several years.
The county chose to tackle the project on its own after SHA declined to build

The project will be paid for with highway user funds from
the state. According to Worcester County spokesperson Kim Moses, the county
government has earmarked, so far, $3.2 million in those funds for the service
road. Wal-Mart and Home Depot will also pay into the project, said Moses, as it
affects their properties.