MD 924 (Main Street) Streetscape
MD 924 (Main Street) Streetscape
Main Street (MD 924) in Bel Air, the seat of Harford County government, experienced high volumes of traffic during peak weekday hours and on weekends. In addition, the poor condition of sidewalks impeded access to Main Street businesses and government buildings. Modifications to MD 924 were sought to encourage visitors and improve flow along this central corridor for county activities. JMT and our design-build partner were selected to provide a 3/4-mile streetscape project that would not only enhance the town’s nostalgic look and feel while applying traffic safety improvements, but would also minimize construction impacts on local businesses.
JMT performed all design, including civil, structural, utility, traffic, drainage, and electrical engineering; landscape architecture; permit acquisition; right-of-way services; and surveying. Some of the complex design components JMT encountered included reconfiguring on-street parking, eliminating existing sidewalk bifurcation of more than 2 feet in vertical height, upgrading pedestrian facilities to meet ADA requirements, pedestrian-scale lighting that minimized light pollution, and replacing of water line service connections and the main line. These elements needed to be constructed while maintaining traffic lanes and continuing water service. Additional attention was required for the courthouse, police station, and county office complex. JMT used the design-build delivery method to best advantage by segmenting the project into three phases, each of which would ensure vehicular flow at peak times, no disruptions to access for Main Street businesses, and constant utility service, while delivering the project on a fast track basis.
Constant communication helped keep stakeholders well informed. Regular project updates allowed citizens to review the proposed project phasing, specific design elements, and the construction schedule. JMT’s graphic artists also completed renderings of the final streetscape appearance, which helped to create local anticipation and excitement for the completed project. Throughout the project, JMT worked with local businesses and restaurants to understand their needs, particularly to maintain access for patrons and deliveries during construction. The Bel Air Economic & Community Development Commission later honored the project team with an award for meeting these key goals.
The design-build team established a working culture that focused on total owner satisfaction and project quality, successfully balancing the needs of the client, the town, and businesses to assure long-term project quality, including future maintenance.
The streetscape improvements completed in Bel Air signified to the engineering profession and the community that major infrastructure improvements can be completed along a town main street while maintaining the current economic vitality during construction. This project received recognition for excellence in design by the American Council of Engineering Companies/Maryland, for context sensitive project development and for partnering by the Maryland Quality Initiative, and for overall merit by the Design-Build Institute of America.