Bridge Maintenance in Montgomery County — back
With so much in the news about bridges over the past month, residents may be reassured to learn that Montgomery County does not have any bridges similar to the one that failed in Minneapolis. The County has a model bridge inspection, repair and maintenance program for its 319 bridges that is operated by the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT). Of these bridges, 199 are defined as long-span bridges, which are more than 20 feet long, and 120 are short-span bridges, which are between six and 20 feet in length.
Inspection schedules for bridges are specified by Federal guidelines. Long-span bridges are inspected every two years with the funding for the inspections coming from the Federal government. The County pays for inspection of short-span bridges, which is done every four years.
Following each inspection cycle, DPWT initiates repair or replacement of priority bridges. Within the last two years, 14 bridges were identified for action. Eight bridges are currently being designed or are in the facility planning process. Six bridges have either been replaced, are currently under construction or awaiting approval for construction.
In addition, the County funds minor rehabilitation for bridges. Four bridges were renovated by the County during 2006. For 2007, three bridges have been renovated so far and six additional bridges are scheduled for renovation.
The County also funds preservation efforts that maintain bridges by painting the steel components. There are 102 steel beam bridges in the County. Since 1998, 51 bridges have been painted and eight more are scheduled for maintenance in fiscal year 2007. The expected life cycle of the paint coating is about 15 years.
Renew Montgomery Restores and Improves Older Communities — back
The Montgomery County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPWT) recently released a progress report on Renew Montgomery, a program that restores and replaces deteriorating infrastructure in mature neighborhoods. Since the program began in 1996, 67 neighborhoods have been upgraded at a cost of $37 million.
Renew Montgomery is a community-driven program that seeks early input from homeowner or civic association leaders who identify neighborhood priorities. Renew Montgomery neighborhoods can receive a variety of services, including repair or installation of new curbs, gutters, and sidewalks; repair and maintenance of roads; renovation of streets, roads and walkways to make them accessible and compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act; installation of traffic calming modifications; installation of improved or new streetlights; repair or replacement of traffic signs and pavement markings; installation of Ride On bus stop amenities; tree maintenance and replacement plantings; storm drain improvements; and award of neighborhood beautification grants to assist neighborhoods with landscaping and beautification projects. DPWT may need more than one year to complete projects in some neighborhoods.
The Renew Montgomery progress report is available on the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dpwt. Click on Highway Maintenance. For a copy of the report, or for more information about Renew Montgomery, call the DPWT Hotline at 240-777-7165.
Ride On Route 61 Expands to Serve Health Clinic — back
Since late June, Ride On’s Route 61 bus has offered expanded hours of service to help residents get to medical appointments at the new Mercy Health Clinic in Germantown. The clinic is located adjacent to the MARC Train Station.
Previously, buses ran from 6:15 to 8:15 a.m. Now, bus service is provided every 30 minutes between 6:15 a.m. and 3:16 p.m. in the southbound direction, leaving the Germantown Transit Center.
For more information on Ride On services, visit the Ride On website or call the Transit Information Center at 240-777-RIDE (7433).
Council Rescinds Expanded Parking Hours Proposal — back
The Montgomery County Council unanimously rescinded a proposal to expand paid parking hours for the County’s parking lot districts in Bethesda, Montgomery Hills, Silver Spring and Wheaton. The new parking hours were scheduled to go into effect July 1.
The regulations were intended to make public parking rules throughout the County more uniform, but residents and business owners expressed concern about the impact of the changes in specific areas. The Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee will review the parking hours in the fall.
DPWT Repairs and Resurfaces Neighborhood Streets — back
DPWT’s Highway Maintenance Section (HMS) continues its warm weather road maintenance program. HMS is responsible for maintaining over 3,800 lane-miles of streets in Montgomery County. During the warmer weather months, the crews focus on repair and resurfacing. Resurfacing roads extends their usefulness, protects the road base and sub-base, seals small cracks, and levels minor imperfections.
HMS notifies residents in neighborhoods before resurfacing begins. Residents may also check DPWT’s paving, repair and resurfacing schedules online by going to (Highway Maintenance), then Roadway and Related Maintenance, and click on either Concrete Repairs, Street Repairs, Repaving or Resurfacing for a neighborhood work schedule.
County Installs First Permanent Speed Camera at Wheaton High School to Enhance Back-to-School Pedestrian Safety — back
On August 24, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced the installation of the first Montgomery County Police permanent speed camera at Wheaton High School at the intersection of Randolph Road and Bluhill Road. From May 2 to August 15, police monitoring the intersection with a mobile speed camera van issued an average of nearly 50 citations an hour to drivers who exceeded the 35 mph speed limit by more than 10 mph. Of all the school locations monitored over the summer, the Wheaton High School intersection was by far the worst.
Over the last three months, speed cameras have proven to be a deterrent to unsafe driving near Wheaton High School. At Randolph and Bluhill roads, the average number of speeding citations issued per hour decreased from 60 in May to 56 in June and to 46 in July. Police hope the permanent camera will further decrease speeding violations near the school.
Since May 2, mobile cameras have been issuing citations in residential areas and school zones with 35 mph (or less) speed limits, all of which are marked with “Photo Enforced” signs. A list of the speed enforcement areas is available on the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/safespeed. Police expect to install permanent cameras at 15 to 20 additional locations over the next few months.
Leggett also announced that Montgomery County Police will step up traffic safety enforcement around school zones during the first month of school, especially focusing on drivers who do not stop for school buses, run red lights, or ignore other pedestrian and traffic safety laws. In addition, Leggett announced that police will increase crosswalk enforcement this year.
The County has prepared a fact sheet of pedestrian safety tips for parents and kids that also includes school bus and transit bus safety information. It is available on following link. For more information on the County’s speed camera program, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/safespeed or call Police Media Services at 240-773-5030.
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