FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — After more than two years, Monocacy Boulevard in Frederick has re-opened, but the project brought tension between the city and contractors.
Monocacy Boulevard has been closed since the end of 2017. Thursday afternoon marked the opening of the roadway with a new bridge over the Monocacy River, and more lanes.
“To me, that’s historic. That’s going to be–that’s a big deal,” said nearby resident, Randolph Aguado.
The 3,550 feet of four-lane roadway is more of a straight drive, and not curvy as the previous two-lane road.
The former bridge has been renovated, and now both bridges have space for bicyclists and pedestrians.
Noticeably absent from the opening ceremony, hosted by contractor, Milani Construction, were representatives from the City of Frederick.
Officials with the city say their priority and focus was working to make final touches on the boulevard, which continued until about 2:30 p.m.
In a press release earlier this week, Milani Construction spoke to delays in the project, to say “We have had more than our share of hurdles to jump through with the City of Frederick… We had to troubleshoot many defective design issues with city engineering which pushed the project back even more.”
“It was originally a two year project and it ended up being a two-and-a-half-year project. We have some contractual disputes that need to be sorted out. Obviously, we believe the city, through all the different design issues, has delayed the project,” explained vice president of operations for Milani Construction, Ira Kaplan.
Kaplan also said excessive rainfall caused delays for the project.
The City of Frederick released a statement saying in part, “the City greatly disputes the assertions in Milani Construction’s media release… We, like our community, are frustrated in the project’s delay and commit to examining options concerning the execution of our contract. We greatly appreciate the patience of our residents, businesses, and visitors.”
The project was estimated to cost about $21 million, but according to Kaplan it came in under budget. Kaplan added that the final budget cost is pending.
The new roadway connects travelers from I-70, to Frederick’s downtown area and to the northeast side of the city.