Pitch­ing in

Project Clean Stream vol­un­teers clean county water­ways

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ce­cil­whig.com

— Vol­un­teers did some spring clean­ing for the county’s water­ways as part of Project Clean Stream’s 13th an­nual spring cleanup Satur­day morn­ing.

The pur­pose of the project, cre­ated by the Al­liance

CE­CIL COUNTY

for the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay, is to clean up the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay’s wa­ter­shed’s rivers and streams. The Oc­toraro Wa­ter­shed As­so­ci­a­tion and Sas­safras River As­so­ci­a­tion held cleanups that day as well. The trash and de­bris col­lected is then dumped at the county land­fill free of charge.

Mem­bers of the Elk and North East Wa­ter­shed River As­so­ci­a­tions helped to clean up the Lit­tle North­east Creek.

per­ilously close to traf­fic on the two-lane bridge, it will re­quire a clo­sure of one lane for much of the du­ra­tion of project, creat­ing traf­fic de­lays for the 13,500 ve­hi­cles that cross the span daily, of­fi­cials ac­knowl­edged.

Corps of­fi­cials are work­ing with the Mary­land State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion to in­stall tem­po­rary traf­fic lights at ei­ther end of the bridge when de­lays be­gin. The lights will be set on a cy­cle of no more than eight min­utes for north­bound and south­bound traf­fic, with the traf­fic lights ca­pa­ble of count­ing the cars pass­ing un­der them and en­sur­ing all pass through the other side be­fore en­abling the re­verse flow, Boyle said.

A third traf­fic sig­nal is also plan-

ning on be­ing in­stalled at the north­bound en­trance to Route 213 from the town’s south side, which en­ters traf­fic near the start of the bridge, Boyle said. With­out such a sig­nal, town of­fi­cials were wor­ried that res­i­dents and visi­tors would be blocked by the backup of north­bound traf­fic.

“If you close the lanes for too long peo­ple grow frus­trated,” he said.

While the Corps will be en­cour­ag­ing driv­ers to con­sider other canal cross­ings, the near­est de­tour back to Route 213 would be nearly 12 miles away us­ing the Sum­mit Bridge, mean­ing many driv­ers would be bet­ter suited to wait out the de­lay.

Mean­while, project of­fi­cials have been in con­tact with the Ce­cil County Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices to en­sure that first re­spon­ders can change the light sched­ule as needed to ac­com­mo­date their ef­forts. The Ce­cil Coun-

ty Pub­lic Schools Of­fice of Trans­porta­tion is also aware of the project and is de­vel­op­ing a plan to make any nec­es­sary ad­just­ments dur­ing the course of the project, ac­cord­ing to school of­fi­cials.

The pre­ven­ta­tive project will both beau­tify and pro­tect the bridge, as crews sand­blast off the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing paint from rails and stair­wells along the bridge, re­place the chain link fenc­ing, com­plete nec­es­sary re­pairs and re­paint the af­fected ar­eas, Boyle said. The bridge, when com­pleted in 1948, was done pri­mar­ily in lead­based paint, which is now known to be a toxic ma­te­rial, Boyle said. While a re­paint­ing project in 2000 saw the re­moval of the orig­i­nal paint and reap­pli­ca­tion of new, non-lead-based paint, the Corps is still ex­er­cis­ing cau­tion by em­ploy­ing lead paint pro­ce­dures with the up­com­ing project.

Ar­eas of the bridge to be sand­blasted will be cov­ered in a pro­tec-

tive cloth and crews re­mov­ing the paint will be in full pro­tec­tive suits in case some lead-based paint re­mained af­ter the last project, Boyle said.

While Ch­e­sa­peake City Mayor Dean Geraci­mos said Fri­day that he was ex­cited that the long­sought-af­ter re­paint­ing of the pedes­trian bridge was fi­nally oc­cur­ring, he was also wor­ried about its un­for­tu­nate tim­ing. For the proper ad­he­sion of the paint to the steel bridge, painting has to oc­cur while tem­per­a­tures re­main con­sis­tently above 40 de­grees.

“Ob­vi­ously it’s the tough­est time of the year to be shut­ting dow a lane of the bridge, but for the paint be­ing put on it can only be done then. It’s a bit of a Catch-22,” Geraci­mos said.

The mayor said he was more dis­ap­pointed to find out that the project would not be re­plac­ing the bridge’s orig­i­nal rail­ings, but sim­ply re­pair­ing and re­paint­ing them.

“It was orig­i­nal billed to us that it was a $3 mil­lion project, but that has since more than dou­bled,” he said. “When I heard about the higher bids, my hopes were high that it was a re­place­ment job, but it’s an ex­pen­sive painting job in­stead.”

Geraci­mos also sought for the Corps to paint the rail­ings a more athe­is­ti­cally pleas­ing high-gloss black, which would tie in bet­ter with the his­tor­i­cal re­vi­tal­iza­tion the town is un­der­go­ing, than the pre­vi­ous gray. While of­fi­cials told him at their March 28 meet­ing that the re­quest might be able to be hon­ored, Boyle was not so sure Fri­day.

“They will likely be more of a gray, be­cause black tends to fade quickly and in the sum­mer it can get too hot creat­ing a po­ten­tial burn haz­ard for pedes­tri­ans on the bridge,” he ex­plained. “It also more eas­ily shows dirt and dam­age.”

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Ge­orge Ka­plan, cleans up the creek that leads into the Lit­tle North­east Creek be­hind St. Mary Anne’s Epis­co­pal Church.

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY BRI­ANNA SHEA

Chuck Fos­ter, Elise Payne, John Hagee and Tom Payne stand in front of the trash they col­lected at one of two sites.

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