Crews Begin Project to Add Auxiliary Lane to Southbound I-81; Resurface I-70 in Big Pool

(July 20, 2016) – In its continuing effort to improve safety and ride quality for thousands of motorists, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is beginning two major projects on I-81 and I-70 in Washington County.  SHA is adding an auxiliary lane to southbound I-81 between MD 58 (Salem Avenue) and US 40 (National Pike) in Hagerstown.  Crews will also resurface nearly eight miles of southbound I-81 between the Maryland/Pennsylvania line and Halfway Boulevard.  Weather permitting, the $6.3 million project will be complete summer 2017.  

In addition to widening southbound I-81 between MD 58 and US 40 to accommodate the longer merge lane, SHA will also create grass drainage swales in the center median, as a median barrier.

SHA’s contractor, New Enterprise Stone and Line Co. of New Enterprise Pa. is permitted to close a single lane and shoulder at night from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. the following morning.

SHA is currently working on an identical project on northbound I-81 between I-70 and Halfway Boulevard.  Click here for more project information.  Crews are also installing 7.4 miles of traffic barrier and guardrail on I-81 between Halfway Boulevard and the Maryland/Pennsylvania line.

“SHA is investing millions of dollars to improve safety on the I-81 corridor in Maryland, which is a heavily used interstate, particularly with commercial vehicles,” said SHA District Engineer Anthony Crawford.  “We ask that motorists and truckers be patient with our crews and slow down in the work zones.”

Also beginning next week, SHA will begin a $3.3 million project to resurface I-70 between MD 56 (Big Pool Road) and Boyd Road.  SHA’s contractor, P & W Excavating, Inc. of McConnellsburg, Pa. is permitted to close a single lane Mondays through Friday’s from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and Sundays through Thursdays between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.  This project will be complete by mid-fall, weather permitting.

Both contractors will patch, grind (remove the top layer of pavement), resurface, restripe the pavement and install new guardrail. SHA will use barrels, dynamic message signs and arrow boards to guide motorists through the work zone.

Resurfacing projects such as these provide a smoother ride, increase roadway service life and enhance safety by improving friction, drainage and visibility of pavement markings.

While SHA and its transportation partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to actively modify his or her driving style to help prevent crashes. Stay alert and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.  Slow down and don’t follow too closely. Work Zone Safety is in Your Hands.

A complete listing of current roadway projects is included in e-Road Ready 2016, the online brochure. Maryland drivers can also know before they go by calling 511 or visiting for live traffic updates, including construction delays and lane closures.