SHA seeks public’s info on Port Deposit’s past
PORT DEPOSIT — Officials with the Maryland State Highway Administration will host a community meeting March 6 to hear from longtime town residents, or those with a knowledge of town history, to remap Main Street before a $4.5 million project can resume.
That meeting will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at town hall, located at 64 S. Main St.
Robert Rager, SHA district community liaison, said the agency needs a better idea of what types of businesses or activities lined Main Street in Port Deposit’s past to avoid surprises like the asbestos pipe found under North Main Street.
“Not just companies, we’re talking about people’s backyards,” Rager said. “For example, was there a vehicle repair shop or a foundry?”
Rager said the maps with which they were working to plan the stormwater mediation project are inaccurate.
“A good example of that is when we were working on the project last year near the basketball courts and came across asbestos pipe,” he said. “It didn’t show up on any plans and we don’t know if there’s more (or) where it goes.”
That 10-inch pipe wasn’t wrapped or lined with asbestos, it was made of the stuff, Rager said.
“They hit a chunk of it and fortunately they knew right away what it was,” he said of the crew from Pes- soa Construction. A piece was removed for testing and the hole filled. Testing confirmed it was asbestos, a suspected carcinogen.
SHA is spending $ 4.5 million to redirect stormwater and keep what runs out of town from flowing back. A series of outfalls, or check valves, are to be set in place along the Susquehanna River and connected to the stormwater system. Work began in March, but was ceased last fall after it became apparent that the project needed to be redesigned.
Jim Ports, deputy Maryland Transportation secretary, told local leaders in October about the myriad of issues including the discoveries of asbestos, unknown utilities, solid granite boulders and conflicts with the town sewer system.
So Rager said the SHA is reaching out to those who have lived in town for decades, or may have recollections of what was happening in the waterfront town long ago.
“We want to listen to what people have to say, know what they know,” Rager said. “Helping us is going to help you.”
Even if those in the know can’t make the meeting, Rager said he still wants their assistance.
“Anyone who can’t make it is welcome to contact me directly and we can meet with them individually,” Rager said. Call 443-463-3768 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. md.us
There’s no word yet on when the project would resume.