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Author Topic: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project  (Read 5226 times)

afguy

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Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« on: December 24, 2016, 08:41:59 AM »

Quote
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan traveled to Hagerstown Thursday morning to announce the start of construction along Interstate-81.
 
The governor and other state-level and local political officials gathered in front of the Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown to expand on the I-81 expansion project that just broke ground.
 
Shovels are already in the ground for phase one of the I-81 widening project.
 
Governor Hogan and Deputy Transportation Secretary James Ports announced that the $105 million project is in full swing.
 
"My wife regularly travels I-81. We live north of downtown, off Maugans Avenue, and she commutes everyday down to Martinsburg. This has a major impact on her daily commute, and the safety of that highway," said Al Martin, a resident and spectator at the event.     
 
The improvements to the interstate will widen the roadway from four lanes to six and run all the way from the West Virginia state line at the Potomac River to the Pennsylvania state line.
 
State and federal funds will be used to help fund the project.
 
"Well, the Fast Lane grant would be a huge infusion of federal dollars to mix with the State of Maryland's dollars that we could put forth. Basically, I believe they would have about 80 percent, and Maryland will do about 20 percent," said Neil Parrott, Maryland House Delegate.
 
Officials said that the improvements will reduce congestion, especially when it comes to high truck volume and provide room for any future development.
 
"[We must] keep the progress along all of the I-81 improvements moving forward as a top priority and as expeditiously as possible," said Governor Hogan.
http://www.your4state.com/news/maryland/hogan-announces-start-of-i-81-project-during-visit-to-hagerstown/627878533
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AlexandriaVA

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2016, 01:09:14 PM »

More red meat for his base. What's next....Widening every road in Cumberland?
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Alps

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2016, 01:16:37 PM »

More red meat for his base. What's next....Widening every road in Cumberland?
No, I'm pretty sure I-81 actually can use 6 lanes here, having driven it many times. I-81 also needs 6 lanes in neighboring states.

02 Park Ave

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2016, 04:59:21 PM »

It should be 6 lanes from Scranton PA on southward.
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2016, 06:21:20 PM »

More red meat for his base. What's next....Widening every road in Cumberland?
No, I'm pretty sure I-81 actually can use 6 lanes here, having driven it many times. I-81 also needs 6 lanes in neighboring states.

Virginia made a start with the widening project in Bristol, added some climbing lanes in a few places, and then just stopped. While the whole highway needs work, adding more lanes in Roanoke, Harrisonburg, and Winchester would go a long way to improving traffic flows in areas that get jammed up on a regular basis.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2016, 06:23:08 PM »

More red meat for his base. What's next....Widening every road in Cumberland?

I strongly disagree.  Maryland is acting like a state, not a municipality or a county with elected officials frightened of the local NIMBYs, and upgrading its (short) segment of I-81.

Regarding Cumberland, it does need one big (and expensive) highway project - a total replacement of the ancient and hazardous and functionally obsolete Cumberland Thruway, originally built as a U.S. 40 bypass of the downtown area in the 1960's, now signed as I-68 and U.S. 40.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2016, 06:29:16 PM »

More red meat for his base. What's next....Widening every road in Cumberland?
No, I'm pretty sure I-81 actually can use 6 lanes here, having driven it many times. I-81 also needs 6 lanes in neighboring states.

Virginia made a start with the widening project in Bristol, added some climbing lanes in a few places, and then just stopped. While the whole highway needs work, adding more lanes in Roanoke, Harrisonburg, and Winchester would go a long way to improving traffic flows in areas that get jammed up on a regular basis.

The Star Solutions PPTA project to force trucks to use toll lanes in Virginia's part of I-81 was unworkable, and I shed no tears when it crashed and burned.

If the Virginia General Assembly is afraid  to raise motor fuel taxes, then they should just toll all 320+ miles across the Commonwealth to pay for a widening to 6 or 8 lanes.
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2016, 06:53:49 PM »

Pretty much at this point with Maryland you take whatever you can get. This is definitely a very needed and important project to Western Maryland as I-81 is way over capacity and becoming flat out dangerous. Although I don't understand how it would take possibly more then 3 phases to widen just 12 miles of road. At that pace how long would it take Virginia to widen it's portion...
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2016, 12:37:33 AM »

Will any of the phases prompt WV to widen the Potomac river bridge.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2016, 02:39:05 AM »

The Potomac River bridges belong to Maryland, not West Virginia.

The announced widening extends from US 11 in West Virginia across the state line into Maryland, so yes, the bridges will be widened as part of this project.
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2016, 06:29:33 AM »

Having read some of the documentation this past year, I believe part of this project involved replacement of the Potomac River bridges, not just widening.

Agree this was a needed project, but also agree with AlexandriaVA regarding the political motivations.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2016, 11:48:07 AM »

Agree this was a needed project, but also agree with AlexandriaVA regarding the political motivations.

Then-candidate for Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan, Jr. (R) made the cost of the Red Line (Baltimore City and Baltimore County) and Purple Line (Montgomery  County and Prince George's County) light rail projects a campaign issue in 2014, and (correctly) pointed out that these projects would (even with the most-optimistic patronage forecasts) serve a small part of the state's population, yet highway users from Oakland to Ocean City were being asked to fund most of the state's share of the capital costs, and presumably all of the costs of the operating deficits. 

Supporters of one or both rail projects arrogantly portrayed the state motor fuel tax increases (enacted in the second Gov. Martin O'Malley Administration) as being something that "their" projects were entitled to have.

Hogan's opponent, then-Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) had the light rail projects and one grade separated interchange project in Montgomery County  (might have been MD-97 and MD-28) and nothing else  in the transportation program on his Web site.

Brown lost the election, at least in part because of low voter turnout in Baltimore City and Montgomery  County and Prince George's County.  That tells me that there was not much voter interest in the light rail lines  - and Larry Hogan's Secretary of Transportation,  Pete Rahn, promptly cancelled the  Red Line and pared-back state spending on the Purple Line.  Yes, both had and have passionate supporters (rail transit projects usually do), but a discussion of them helped Hogan to win the election.

I personally feel that the Red Line had more merit than the Purple Line.

You can call it politics if you wish.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2016, 12:08:20 PM by cpzilliacus »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2016, 12:00:22 PM »

The Potomac River bridges belong to Maryland, not West Virginia.

Correct.  The SHA Highway Location Reference for Washington County, Maryland shows that the southernmost 0.06 miles of the bridge that carries I-81 over the Potomac River is in West Virginia.  The bridge is shown as 0.23 miles long (I thought it was longer than that), and curiously is shown in the HLR as being one structure, even though there are two.

The announced widening extends from US 11 in West Virginia across the state line into Maryland, so yes, the bridges will be widened as part of this project.

Having a lane drop at the West Virginia shore would not have been a very good idea.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2016, 12:19:06 PM by cpzilliacus »
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1995hoo

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2016, 01:51:06 PM »

The state line between Maryland and Virginia was established by King Charles I in 1632 as the low-water point on the south bank of the Potomac. It's been clarified over the years, and West Virginia inherited the same state line Virginia had, but the essential effect is that the bridges are in either Maryland or the District of Columbia (the latter because it inherited Maryland's borders after retroceding Virginia's portion of the District). The full facts are all a lot more complicated, of course, because in 1632 nobody knew the Potomac split into the North and South Branches, and then there were various other agreements and Supreme Court decisions over the years, but the gist of it dates back to 1632.
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #14 on: December 25, 2016, 02:05:53 PM »

The state line between Maryland and Virginia was established by King Charles I in 1632 as the low-water point on the south bank of the Potomac. It's been clarified over the years, and West Virginia inherited the same state line Virginia had, but the essential effect is that the bridges are in either Maryland or the District of Columbia (the latter because it inherited Maryland's borders after retroceding Virginia's portion of the District). The full facts are all a lot more complicated, of course, because in 1632 nobody knew the Potomac split into the North and South Branches, and then there were various other agreements and Supreme Court decisions over the years, but the gist of it dates back to 1632.

Have there been egregious cases of the state line changing the way there have been along the Ohio River? (Where Virginia's border extended to the north bank, with Kentucky and West Virginia inheriting that location).

Also, are there agreements between Maryland and its neighbors for bridge construction and maintenance the way there are with Kentucky and its neighbors, or does Maryland maintain every bridge?

Agree this was a needed project, but also agree with AlexandriaVA regarding the political motivations.

Don't think I've ever seen anyone here hate rural areas and their inhabitants as much as this guy does. Attitudes like those are one big reason so many of us in rural areas have a great dislike for urban areas and dwellers. Their scorn and superiority complex doesn't play well in "flyover country."
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #15 on: December 25, 2016, 02:25:15 PM »

I am also curious to see if 81/70 remains a cloverleaf with CD roads.  The loop ramps were always too tight.
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #16 on: December 25, 2016, 02:55:46 PM »

I'm so glad Governor Hogan is making transportation projects a top priority. I may not agree with everything he believes in, but I think for the most part his policies are reasonable.
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #17 on: December 25, 2016, 03:44:14 PM »

Yeah, and I like the fact that he's making an effort to do transportation projects around the entire state, not just the places in the cities where he'll get the most votes.

AlexandriaVA

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #18 on: December 25, 2016, 07:02:15 PM »

It's nothing personal , I just don't think these rural highway projects have much ROI compared to, say, a new Potomac crossing near DC.

In other words , many of the projects are infrastructure affirmative action. By comparison, Virginia recently established a scoring system which ranks projects based on expected utility. Less politics.
« Last Edit: December 25, 2016, 07:04:33 PM by AlexandriaVA »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #19 on: December 25, 2016, 11:15:41 PM »

It's nothing personal , I just don't think these rural highway projects have much ROI compared to, say, a new Potomac crossing near DC.

I agree with you.  But Montgomery County Councils dating back to about 1970 have been opposed to new capacity  crossing the Potomac River.  A position I do not agree with (and I believe a position that most Montgomery County citizens do not agree with, but the county's anti-highway cottage industry has been winning Democratic primary elections since then, and winning the Democratic  primary  in Montgomery  is tantamount to election).

In other words , many of the projects are infrastructure affirmative action. By comparison, Virginia recently established a scoring system which ranks projects based on expected utility. Less politics.

The HB2 scoring system in Virginia has worked reasonably well.  The  scoring system in Maryland, less so.
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #20 on: December 26, 2016, 12:15:03 PM »

I am also curious to see if 81/70 remains a cloverleaf with CD roads.  The loop ramps were always too tight.
Plans are online (http://apps.roads.maryland.gov/WebProjectLifeCycle/ProjectMaps.aspx?projectno=WA1281121#) and show CD lanes being built along I-81 extending past both intersections adjacent to I-70. The existing CD lanes along I-70 will not be touched, but the existing loop ramps will be modified.
Phase 1-the southernmost of the 3 sections of this project-includes widening both Potomac River bridges. Most of the plans and environmental impact statements were done close to a decade ago.
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hbelkins

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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #21 on: December 26, 2016, 01:57:10 PM »

I am also curious to see if 81/70 remains a cloverleaf with CD roads.  The loop ramps were always too tight.
Plans are online (http://apps.roads.maryland.gov/WebProjectLifeCycle/ProjectMaps.aspx?projectno=WA1281121#) and show CD lanes being built along I-81 extending past both intersections adjacent to I-70. The existing CD lanes along I-70 will not be touched, but the existing loop ramps will be modified.
Phase 1-the southernmost of the 3 sections of this project-includes widening both Potomac River bridges. Most of the plans and environmental impact statements were done close to a decade ago.

They made some slight changes to that interchange a few years ago, but I was a bit surprised at how little they actually did. The movements I've used most often there are I-70 east to I-81 north, and I-81 south to I-70 west. I've also done the through movement on both interstates several times.
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #22 on: December 26, 2016, 07:56:28 PM »

My stepfather (RIP) and I (with and without each other) have been through the 70/81 interchange several times (usually through movements on 70).  He would probably call 70 and 81 the "Hollywood and Vine" of Hagerstown and probably all of Washington County, and I'm inclined to agree.  We'd probably say the same for Frederick/Frederick County about the 70/270/15/40/340 spaghetti bowl.

ixnay
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2016, 11:43:50 AM »

This has been long needed, as the I-81 bridges over the Potomac look downright scary with the patchwork on the decking. I travel almost weekly on this stretch and know the volume has been increasing every year for the past 20 at least. I wonder if the Halfway Blvd interchange construction underway now is just a stop gap or part of this project?
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Re: Governor Hogan announces plans for I-81 expansion project
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2016, 02:05:39 PM »

I wonder if the Halfway Blvd interchange construction underway now is just a stop gap or part of this project?
According to the plans linked above, yes (part of the project, which is how the Gov. can say the project is already underway).
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