The Bureau of Highways provides a broad range of services:
- Repairs and maintains, reconstructs and improves more than 2,600 miles of the County road system, including travel lanes, roadside shoulders, ditches, appurtenance paving, curbs and gutter, sidewalks, alleys and guard rails
- Maintenance and repair of open drainage systems, including stream channels, culverts, flumes, catch basins and ditches
- Emergency and special services in the areas of snow and ice control or de-icing, flooding, tornadoes and other natural disasters, and assisting in civil emergencies
Alleys must meet certain criteria to be considered for reconstruction:
- Has ingress and egress
- Has trash pickup in the alley
- Has public utilities
- Has been rated 'terrible' by the Highway Design section of the Bureau of Engineering and Construction
Petition for Reconstruction
Property owners must submit a valid petition for reconstruction. If the alley meets the required criteria, petition forms can be obtained by calling Highway Design at 410-887-3739, or a petition can be mailed to a spokesperson who is willing to be the contact with the County and circulate the petition to property owners for signatures.
- For reconstruction of existing alleys, 51 percent of abutting property owners must sign agreeing to the petition.
- For dirt or macadam alleys, 100 percent of property owners must sign agreeing to the petition.
Once a petition is received, the appropriate percentage of signatures is verified and state tax records are checked to verify ownership of those that signed the petition. The information is then sent to Highway Design, who will decide if and when an alley should be reconstructed.
Cost and Duration of Repairs
Alleys repairs currently cost $750 to each property owner abutting the alley. This can be applied to the property tax bill over a period of 15 years interest free, or paid in full at any time. The County will make all necessary repairs for a period of 15 years without further charge to the property owners. This is the normal life expectancy, however, many last much longer.
Make a Payment
If you wish to pay off your existing balance, call the Office of Finance at 410-887-4100.
Property owners must submit a petition to the County requesting take-over. Call Highway Design at 410-887-3739 for County staff to schedule a field inspection, and prepare a report informing property owners what they must do to bring the road up to County standards before the County would consider accepting the road. All improvements are at the property owner's expense.
Repair requests are forwarded to one of 11 highways shops located throughout the County. Crews typically make necessary repairs to the pothole as soon as possible.
Severe winters with colder temperatures, snow and ice lead to more severe potholes. Potholes occur when a combination of moisture and changing temperatures weaken the asphalt and create an air pocket beneath the surface. As traffic drives over the weakened area, the surface cracks and creates a pothole. To repair potholes, during colder months, we use a product called "cold mix" that remains pliable in winter temperatures, then in warmer months, we use a product called "hot mix" asphalt, which allows a more permanent repair.
The snow emergency plan is activated and deactivated by the Maryland State Police. Drivers follow specific routes with no special lists or preferred customers. Roads are cleared by collector and arterials, then development subdivisions.
The process taken to manage storm drain issues depends on the nature of the cause:
- Stream Flow—The Bureau will investigate and determine if any debris or culvert blockage exists and refer the problem to Storm Drain Design if assistance is needed.
- Clogged Street Inlet—The Bureau handles roadway maintenance problems and will unclog the inlet.
- Runoff from County Road—The Bureau will investigate complaints involving insufficient or undersized culverts or inlets. They will refer the problem to Storm Drains Design if assistance is needed.
All roadside trees within the public right-of-way are covered under the regulations of the Maryland Roadside Tree Law (COMAR Title 5-401). While Baltimore County does not own trees within the right-of-way, they are considered in what is known as a "tenant in common relationship," which is a working relationship between the property owner and the government agency.
The following services are provided for roadside trees:
- Removal of dead wood—Dead, storm damaged or broken limbs
- Trimming—Removal of limbs blocking streetlights, traffic signals, traffic warning signs or causing sight distance issues at intersections
- Elevate limbs—Blocking public sidewalk or traffic vehicle lanes
- Cut down and remove:
- Dead trees
- Live trees with a valid permit or work order that has been obtained by the property owner
- Removal of stumps or grinding
Apply for a Work Order
A person may not cut down, trim, mutilate or in any way injure any roadside tree without a permit or work order issued by Baltimore County or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). If you have a tree that you feel needs to be removed, to email email@example.com or call 410-887-3560 to apply for a work order. Baltimore County uses the same criteria as the DNR when issuing work orders. The tree must be within the County right-of-way, which will be determined when the work order application is started.
Sometimes after severe storms, and during busy seasons, our tree crew may fall behind schedule and residents may have to wait for some time before trees are removed. In such cases residents, at their own expense, may hire a licensed tree company to do the work, provided they have obtained a valid tree-removal permit from the Maryland Forest Service.
Provides services for the County's fleet of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) apparatus, trucks, heavy equipment, generators and small engine equipment
- Provides preventative maintenance and repair
- Detailed equipment evaluation
- Recommendations for equipment replacement
- Assistance in the development of equipment specifications
- Purchase of small engine equipment
- Receiving, titling and registration of new and replacement equipment
- Disposal and auction of surplus equipment
- Distribution of equipment parts and supplies to user agencies
All roads in Baltimore County with curb and gutter are candidates for the street sweeping program. Main thoroughfares, business districts and industrial areas are swept on a regular basis throughout the year.
Residential neighborhoods are swept once a year by request.
This program is being revised, new information will be posted when available. For damages to the concrete driveway or sidewalk from trees, view the below information on tree removal.
Bureau of Engineering & Construction
|12200D Long Green Pike|
Glen Arm, Maryland 21057
Administrator: James Montgomery
|Utility Cut Permits||Phone: 410-887-4306|
|Water leaks/broken mains on roadways|
View department data below.
- Bridges—Maintain over 400 major bridge structures
- Potholes—Fills an average of 58,000 per year
- Roadways—Maintain over 2,600 miles of roadway
- Street Sweeping—Each year, 10 County street sweepers and one contract sweeper keep over 6,000 tons of debris out of storm drains and the Chesapeake Bay.
The following information is annual data (2021 to 2022) related to winter storm operations and costs. The following takes four to six hours for salting and 18 to 24 hours for plowing.
|Roadways||8,823 (10% of which are priority one)|
|Personnel||491 at 11 sites|
|Routes||164 (with 50 to 60 roads per route)|
|Salt Storage Capacity||91,600 tons at 17 sites|
|Salt Cost||$48.92 per ton|
To better understand the costs involved for the County during the winter season, we have provided a list of major storms, the dates they occurred and the estimated costs for each. Minor events, restocking fees and other miscellaneous costs are not reflected on this page.
|Storm Number||Dates||Labor (includes contractors)||Material||Contract||Snow Accumulation (inches)||Total|
3" average snow
3" average snow
2.5" average snow
snow and ice
.5" average snow and ice
The following chart summarizes storm costs by fiscal year since 2001. The chart will be updated after all data has been captured for each fiscal year.
|Fiscal Year||Number of Storms||Total Cost||Tons of Salt||Salt Cost Per Ton||Snow Accumulation (inches)|
Note: First storm in fiscal 2013 was Hurricane Sandy.