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Baltimore County Now

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Keyword: infrastructure

photo of a construction siteEd Adams
Baltimore County Director of Public Works

Every once in a while you’ll hear in the national news about how our country is struggling to do basic maintenance and upgrade critical infrastructure like bridges, roads and water and sewer systems. Here in Baltimore County, thanks to strong fiscal management and a proactive approach to basic maintenance, we are working hard to keep our systems in good working order and ensure the safety of the public.

These maintenance and repair projects are great real-world examples of why it matters that the County is repeatedly awarded the highest possible bond rating. We are one of only 39 counties in the entire United States with a triple triple-A bond rating. Basically, it costs us less to finance important capital projects, so we are able to do more of them.

I am proud of the Administration, as well as the employees and contractors of the Department of Public Works, who have taken strides toward bringing the County's infrastructure into the 21st century - improving, rebuilding, modernizing and replacing bridges, roads, water mains, reservoirs, pumping stations, storm drains, sewer lines and man holes. At Public Works we strive to run our department based on common sense, accountability and compassion. 

Here’s a quick overview of the County’s investment over the past three years:

Water

$115.5 million for water projects, from FY 2011 to FY2013

            $8.7 million to clean and line pipes

            $35.9 million to lay new water pipes

            $7.7 million for new pumping stations and storage tanks

            $63.2 million to fund City/County facilities: reservoirs & treatment plants

Sewers

$228.1  million

            $11 million to reline sewer pipes

            $5.3 million for new sewer lines

            $47.8 million to rebuild 20 pumping stations

            $76.5 million to fund City/County facilities, including treatment plants

            $87.5 million for design, modeling, studies, and investigation

Bridges

$14 million

            $5.6 million to replace 7 bridges

            $7.8 million to repair 5 bridges

            $0.6 million for 2 wetland projects

Road Construction, Sidewalks & Alleys

$44.1 million  25 projects including:

            $17 million for Owings Mills Boulevard

            $7.5 million for Cherry Hill Road

            $2.2 million for alleys

Utilities

$24.2 million

            $19.6 million to inspect 676 miles of pipes & manholes with video/other methods

            $4.6 million to clean 1,575 miles of pipe

Solid Waste

$43 million

            $9 million for the Central Acceptance Facility Transfer Station

            $14 million for Central Acceptance Facility Single Stream Recycling System

            $6 million to cap the Hernwood landfill

            $.43 million for Parkton Landfill remediation

            $1.5 million for Hernwood Landfill remediation

            $12.1 million for Eastern Sanitary Landfill remediation

Highways

$50 million

            $41.8 million to pave 220 miles

            $8.2 million to install 67.5 miles of curb and gutter

Storm Drains

$5.6 million

            $3.1 million to replace pipes and inlets for 36 projects

            $1.2 million to design and install new drains and inlets for 25 projects

            $1.3 million to fund flood studies, to locate utilities and computer support

Traffic

$5.1 million

$.75 million for new and replacement traffic signals (includes new battery backups for 10 intersections)

            $.25 million to provide traffic calming in 93 communities

            $ 4.1 million to paint 3500 miles of road lines and install and maintain 22,700 signs


By Steven A. Walsh PE, Chief
Engineering & Construction, Department of Public Works

The older my kids get, the more questions I get about my job. I realize more and more that it’s hard for them to understand what I do because you just can’t see much of the end result. 

Our Bureau’s job in DPW is to plan, inspect, design, and construct water, sewer, storm drainage, roads and bridges in the County. We call this infrastructure. Some may call it critical. Life would be very different without these things that most people take for granted. We work hand in hand with Public Work’s other Bureaus (Utilities, Highways, Traffic, and Solid Waste), all of which maintain this infrastructure once it’s constructed. 

The County understands the importance of, and invests heavily in, its infrastructure. Unfortunately the importance of the investment and our work goes largely unnoticed and unseen by the public…as well as my kids, unless I point it out to them. 

It’s understandable. Who really cares about what you don’t see? You expect clean water to flow from the spigot. You expect the stuff going down the commode, and the trash you put out in front of your house, to just go away. You expect the bridge you are driving over – if you even notice it – to not do anything…like move. Unless someone is unhappy with the disruption of a construction project or work being done on the sewer system, infrastructure probably doesn’t come up much in casual conversation. 

With the upcoming National Engineers Week (February 19-25), I thought it appropriate to acknowledge the work of the men and women of DPW who take care of the County’s critical infrastructure.

It’s not magic that causes the water to come out of the spigot – it’s decades of system planning and a whole lot of engineering, construction, and hard work by Public Works’ staff. Even though you can’t see it, it is still very important to our lives. 


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