No Excuse For Summer Road Projects Around Here

No Excuse For Summer Road Projects Around Here

Worcester County, Ocean City, Ocean Pines and Berlin governments should pool their collective wills and together express their views that no major infrastructure projects be undertaken during the months of June, July and August.

In Berlin this summer, an ongoing sidewalk replacement project has caused some headaches for motorists, but it’s not these types of projects that we feel deserve some sort of formal action by local governments.

It’s the work that severely impacts traffic that must be prohibited at times of peak usage. It’s ridiculous for these projects to be undertaken during the peak tourism season.

The latest example of many aggravating situations came this week on Route 90 where a contractor hired by Maryland State Highway Administration was replacing traffic detection loops on the roadway. It appears those devices were removed as part of repaving operations in the spring and not replaced. For whatever reason, the contractor saw fit to return this week to complete the job. Most disturbing is the revelation that the state was unaware the private contractor would be returning to do the work this week. Consequently, there were no warnings.

This is an inexcusable situation. Most motorists stuck on Route 90 on Wednesday assumed there was an accident, but were shocked to discover it was road construction causing the backups at the height of the summer season. A 15-minute trip from Ocean Pines to mid-town Ocean City ended up taking 75 minutes. Outrage was understandable.

While that project was bad enough, there was even some work being done on Coastal Highway this week, causing issues for vehicles, the town’s buses as well as bicyclists.

There are a lot of complexities that go into scheduling these sorts of road projects with contractors, not the least of which is weather. A certain air temperature is required when working with road materials, but there are at least six months of the year that can be utilized for these projects.

We do not know if the answer is in better planning on the state’s or contractor’s part or improved communication between the state and local governments is the answer. Either way, the message must be reiterated that these significant projects must be relegated to the shoulder seasons or at the very least at night. It’s inexcusable.