The exit from westbound I-70 to South Street via Monocacy Boulevard (Exit 55) will close early next week as the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) continues its work to widen I-70 in the area of East South Street in Frederick.
The exit closure is scheduled to begin Monday night, June 25. Weather permitting, the exit will reopen in late summer. During the closure, drivers wishing to access Monocacy Boulevard or East South Street from westbound I-70 will be directed to use Exit 56 (Md. 144 - East Patrick Street), about half a mile prior to the closed exit, and make a left onto Monocacy Boulevard.
The closure is the first of four ramp closures at the I-70/East South Street interchange associated with the widening project. After the first ramp (from I-70 westbound to Monocacy Boulevard) reopens later this summer, the ramp from Monocacy Boulevard to I-70 westbound will close, followed later by the I-70 eastbound ramps to and from East South Street. Weather permitting, all three of those ramps will reopen in late fall.
During the closures, the newly opened section of Monocacy Boulevard that runs between South East Street and East South Street will provide additional connectivity to the I-70/East Street/MD 85 interchange. The new road section opened Tuesday, June 19.
The ramp closures are part of a project to widen I-70 from east of MD 144 to west of East South Street, which includes replacing the I-70 bridges over East South Street. The project is about 40 percent complete. So far, crews have constructed new road and bridge sections to the outside of the existing lanes and bridges. In late fall, when the ramps reopen, traffic will be moved onto the newly constructed areas so improvements to the existing portions can begin. Weather permitting, the entire project will be complete in summer 2013.