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Resurfacing leaves Georgia Avenue commute bumpy after brutal winter

Wednesday - 4/23/2014, 8:05am  ET

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Drivers head southbound on Georgia Avenue. The surface was milled two and a half weeks ago. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- After a brutal winter, many of the roads across the region could be mistaken for the surface of the moon. Myriad potholes leave a dangerous and bumpy obstacle course for drivers.

But on one busy stretch of Georgia Avenue, it's the effort to smooth the road that has resulted in an extended rough patch.

A stretch of almost two miles, from the D.C. line to 16th Street in Montgomery County, is under construction, and drivers are commuting on a bumpy, milled surface.

"When you live there, when you travel through there -- it's uncomfortable; it's not the best ride right now," says David Buck, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. "Ultimately, it's going to be an awesome ride through there."

The grinding on the southbound lanes started two and a half weeks ago; now, the surface is getting chewed up in the northbound lanes.

"I can imagine for people that are driving in it, particularly over a milled surface, that it feels like a long time," Buck says.

The project includes more than the resurfacing of the roadway. Crews are also improving sidewalks, installing accessible ramps, reworking curbs and gutters and replacing inlets.

The project is on schedule, even if the uneven and bumpy drive seems lengthy.

The process of grinding down a road also involves turn lanes and side streets. When the crew mills a road, it grinds off the top two or three inches until it gets down to concrete. The new surface, then, is supposed to last 15 years or more.

The extended winter weather, followed by holidays and rain, have also contributed to the timing.

"We couldn't work the day before Easter, the day after, and we also can't work when the weather forecast says we're going to have showers or storms overnight," Buck says.

The resurfacing on Georgia Avenue is set to begin in mid-May.

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