A mudslide buried part of the highway last year during heavy rain.
A permanent fix will be installed along Route 550 between Eylers Valley Flint Road and Kelbaugh Road. The State Highway Administration says crews will be putting in a barrier wall and a rock fence along the roadway. In addition, vegetation will be planted to stabilize the slope.
"It's been about a year ago, where some incredibly heavy rains basically caused a washout, a mudslide on Route 550 in Frederick County, northern Frederick County," says SHA spokesman Dave Buck.
He says crews will begin work on Monday. The job is expected to take about three months to complete.
Last year, when the mudslide came down upon Route 550, SHA closed the roadway. In June, it opened one lane, with a temporary traffic signal. At that time, a barrier with a rock fall fence containment system was installed on the center line of Route 550 to catch debris, rocks and small trees that may fall on the roadway.
Buck says for the most part, the traffic signal will be turned off during the day while crews are working, and then turned back on again after personnel quit for the day. "There will be some time during the day when the traffic signal will be turned off, and flag persons will be alternating traffic," he says. "Again, not that much different from what it is. Instead of the signal, it will actually be people out there directing them, at least safely through the workzone."
Buck says mudslides do happen, but not too often. "It is not unprecedented. Generally, when we have this type of thing, it will be in a more rural section of road, where you've got a severe slope like this one, either above or below," he says. "When you have it above, then obviously you can have debris that comes down in the road."
"SHA regrets the inconvenience this has caused for area residents and commuters," says SHA District 7 Engineer Dave Coyne, in a statement. "Our engineers have designed a permanent repair to the slope and by mid-summer, SHA will reopen both lanes on Md. 550."