Ocean City Today

Scoring system hurts proposed road projects

By Brian Gilliland | Dec 21, 2017

(Dec. 22, 2017) The new scoring system for highway work proposals passed by the General Assembly this year will prevent Worcester County from submitting its two highest priority projects: Route 90 dualization and replacement of the Harry Kelley drawbridge.

Each project will exceed the $5 million threshold set by the state, and will require a number of additional materials with costs projected in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, Ed Tudor, director of development review and permitting, said.

“As currently proposed, that will entail the submission by the county of a feasibility study that defines the project improvements and limits. A detailed project cost estimate, six completed checklists, a statement of funds available from all sources and local priority point allocations will all need to be submitted,” Tudor wrote in a memo to the commissioners.

“MDOT said they will work with us, but the cost falls back on us,” Tudor said.

All of this information is required to be submitted by March 1, 2018 for inclusion on next year’s Consolidated Transportation Plan, or summary of the projects the state will undertake in the next year.

The plan also requires coordination with municipalities, because projects with local buy-in score higher than those without.

Though the county has not yet formally declared a priority project, the discussion was held in terms of dualizing Route 90.

“The biggest impact will be on Route 90,” Tudor said. “We’ll spend a couple of hundred thousand just to get started, and there’s just no way to hit March 1 for Route 90.”

The board informally agreed to pursue Route 90 dualization next year.

The priority letter for smaller projects is due in April.

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