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After major bridge renovation finishes, Washington Twp. looks to next big road projects

The McEwen Road bridge in Washington Twp. has reopened after months of being closed for renovations.

The completed upgrade and a planned roundabout in the Alex-Bell area are two plans coming off of the Montgomery County Engineer’s drawing board.

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The bridge was closed on August 13 and was opened Dec. 4, so it was closed for 113 days according to Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner.

“The contract award price was $1,212,913,” he said. “The final cost will be somewhat more than that, as it was a rehabilitation project, and additional deteriorated areas were found. It will be a while until final quantities are established.”

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The completed project will have a very significant impact on those traveling in the area.

“Well, McEwen road is an important link in Washington Township, connecting Alex Bell Road near the I-675 and Cross Point Shopping Center to the heavily commercial area on State Route 725 and the Washington Township Administrative/Police facility and substantial residential area farther south on McEwen Road,” Gruner said.

The reopened bridge will not have a load limit posted on it, so all legal loads, including school buses to and from the nearby Hadley E. Watts Middle School, can now cross the bridge.

“The rehabilitated bridge will carry traffic, currently an average of about 6,900 vehicles a day, for the next 40 years or more,” Gruner explained. “In addition, the new bridge includes a raised sidewalk on the west side, which was not present on the old bridge, which will more safely carry pedestrian traffic.”

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A roundabout is coming to the intersection of Alex-Bell and Mad River roads, however, construction won’t start for at least six years.

The intersection is a four-way stop that sees about 9,000 motorists on each road daily in Washington Twp. It also is one of the top crash locations in Montgomery County according to Gruner.

His office has been working for more than a year on the best solution — a traffic light or roundabout — to address the congestion and safety issues at the intersection.

The topic was the focus of a June public hearing. About 100 people submitted written comments and several others spoke at the meeting.

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The vast majority wanted something to be done, but they were split between a traffic signal and roundabout, according to a release from the engineer’s office.

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