Leventhal Touts Trenching Bill In Bethesda

Utility work on a Bethesda streetCounty Councilmember George Leventhal (D-At large) wants the county’s Department of Transportation to better coordinate digging work on roads with area utilities.

Leventhal was in Bethesda on Monday to talk about his trenching bill, introduced earlier this year, that would require MCDOT to adopt a five-year plan for the renovation, repair and replacement of streets and roads as a way to avoid the digging, patching up and then possible re-digging of streets by different utilities such as Washington Gas, Pepco or WSSC.

Leventhal said the bill would help the county avoid situations like it had last year in Silver Spring, where a road that had been resurfaced was set to undergo trenching and patching work from WSSC just months later. He thinks the coordination could allow different agencies and utilities to plan their work for the same time, minimizing disruptions and saving costs in the long term.

“It’s about sharing the costs,” Leventhal said.

Kelly Gibson Caplan, a community outreach representative for Washington Gas, said lowering costs was the main reason Washington Gas has expressed support for the proposal. Leventhal said he was surprised at MCDOT’s apparent opposition to the bill and characterized WSSC and Pepco’s reaction as “benign neglect.”

Members of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board, which was having its monthly meeting, seemed receptive to the idea. The group had already cited it in a list of FY14 budget priorities it presented to the County Council last week.

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