AIR­PORT

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lic works, said, adding, “we get the money back as we build the project.”

The funds would have gone un­spent this year if left in the Patux­ent Park project bud­get be­cause the St. Mary’s County Met­ro­pol­i­tan Com­mis­sion is “be­hind in their work” on the project, Deatrick said dur­ing the meet­ing.

Ge­orge Erich­sen, direc­tor of MetCom, dis­agreed with that as­sess­ment, and said in an in­ter­view on Tues­day that MetCom “is on sched­ule” and has com­pleted work on three phases of the Patux­ent Park project, and is sched­uled to start work on the fourth phase this year along Mid­way Drive and York­town Road.

In an in­ter­view, Deatrick said that trans­fer­ring the fund­ing will al­low pub­lic works to re­align its sched­ule with MetCom’s, re­flect­ing changes in the project’s sched­ule dis­cussed last Novem­ber, he said.

The re­al­lo­ca­tion does not im­pede fund­ing pub­lic works’ de­sign of the fi­nal phase of the project, for which a bid will be awarded in the spring, Deatrick said.

Erich­sen noted that MetCom and the com­mis­sion­ers meet twice a year to go over project time­lines, with the next joint meet­ing be­ing Nov. 13. MetCom dis­cussed pre-con­struc­tion for the next phase of the project on Wed­nes­day. The bud­get amend­ment does not af­fect MetCom’s work on the project, he said.

Com­mis­sioner Todd Mor­gan (R) noted that the money “can’t be used at the present time” for Patux­ent Park be­cause of the delay, and added that the re­al­lo­ca­tion does not mean Patux­ent Park res­i­dents are be­ing aban­doned. The fund­ing “will be re- cy­cled and come back to them in the fu­ture,” he said.

Com­mis­sioner John O’Con­nor (R) said that pub­lic works is “putting [the fund­ing] to work rather than let­ting it sit there.”

The air­port ex­pan­sion, es­ti­mated to cost $13.4 mil­lion, is meant to cre­ate jobs and will al­low the air­port to ac­com­mo­date larger air­craft, as well as bring the taxi­way into com­pli­ance with Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion stan­dards, which have changed since the air­port was first built around 40 years ago. Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to con­tinue past 2021.

A joint ini­tia­tive be­tween pub­lic works and MetCom, the Patux­ent Park re­vi­tal­iza­tion project aims to re­place the over 70-year-old sewer and wa­ter sys­tem, and in­cludes im­prove­ments to the storm drainage sys­tem, side­walks and road­ways.

Road re­place­ment work for Patux­ent Park be­gan in 2009 and was sup­posed to take six years. Ini­tially ex­pected to cost $9 mil­lion, the project is now bud­geted at $13 mil­lion.

Patux­ent Park res­i­dents have reached out to Com­mis­sioner Mike He­witt (R) “sev­eral times about what they’re go­ing through,” he said Tues­day.

“They know there’s a lit­tle bit of pain to get some gain, but this gain is tak­ing awhile,” he said.

Deatrick said the con­trac­tor hired by pub­lic works is “ahead of sched­ule” for the depart­ment’s third phase of the project, which in­cludes con­struc­tion on Saratoga Drive, part of Mid­way Drive, part of North Es­sex Drive, Wasp Drive and Card Road. Repaving Mid­way Drive should be com­pleted by Easter, Deatrick said, around the time it was al­ready sched­uled for com­ple­tion.

Deatrick said in an in­ter­view the Patux­ent Park project could be com­pleted by spring 2021.

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