Department of Public Works - Highways
The Bureau of Highways is organized into four (4) divisions: Administration, Road Operations, Infrastructure Management, and Traffic Engineering. The Bureau currently employs 218 people and provides service to maintain roads, bridges, and storm water management systems in a safe and efficient manner for over 500,000 citizens.
The Administrative Division is responsible for the planning, design, administration, and financial oversight of all activities related to highway maintenance.
Right-of-Way Management The Administrative Division manages the use of the road rights-of-way owned by the County. Utilities (BGE, Verizon, Comcast, Millennium) and individuals must obtain a permit in order to perform any work in the right-of-way of the County. Types of permitted work include lateral and longitudinal road cuts, roadside trenching, and maintenance of facilities in the right-of-way. In addition, the Administrative Division reviews petitions and plans for acceptance of new infrastructure into the County inventory and reviews petitions and plans for assignment of public roads to private ownership.
Gypsy Moth Program - The County participates with the State of Maryland, Forest Pest Management Program, to control the gypsy moth infestation in the County. Each fall in pre-established sites, the State counts egg masses to determine spring spraying needs. The Administrative Division manages this program for the County.
Grass, Weeds, and Rank Vegetation (Weeded Lot Program) - The Bureau of Highways is responsible for the enforcement of the portion of the County Code that prohibits the growth of grass, weeds, or other rank vegetation over a height of 12 inches on residential properties. Each year, the Bureau receives service requests to investigate approximately 600 suspected code violations. Owners are contacted in an effort to resolve violations. If the homeowner does not comply, the County mows the property and a lien is placed on the property.
Road Surface Maintenance - The Road Operations Division is responsible for the pavement maintenance of the County’s road system consisting of 3,600 lane miles of paved road surfaces. Through management of both contractual and County forces, it performs emergency and permanent patching, milling, crack sealing, and minor paving jobs to correct existing and potential surface hazards, restore skid resistance, rejuvenate roadway surfaces, and prevent further deterioration of County roadways.
Roadside Maintenance - The Road Operations Division is responsible for maintaining the safety and appearance of rights-of-way alongside County roads. County forces reshape unpaved shoulders, mow 900 miles of roadsides, trim and remove trees, and cut vegetation to eliminate safety hazards and control impediments to visibility. Activities also include sweeping roads to remove loose materials, and litter and debris pickup to remove objects that are unsightly, hazardous, or possible drainage obstructions. This program is also responsible for guardrail repairs and upgrades, as well as concrete curb and sidewalk repair. However, sidewalk repair is only completed if the County damaged the sidewalk in some manner.
Drainage Maintenance - The Road Operations Division is responsible for maintaining the County's storm drain and related stormwater infrastructure. Through management of both contractual and County forces, it performs regularly scheduled maintenance activities to clean 2.2 million linear feet of drainage ditches, 3.6 million linear feet of pipes, and 35,000 drainage structures. The Road Operations Division is also responsible for repairing or replacing damaged and deteriorated pipes, culverts, inlets, outfalls, ditches, and structures to maintain proper drainage.
Snow and Ice Control - The Road Operations Division is responsible for managing snow and ice control operations for the County. Historically, the County handles approximately 7 storms per season and spends $1.5 million per year for labor, materials, and equipment. County forces are also supplemented by over 100 pieces of contractual equipment.
Equipment and Facility Maintenance - The Road Operations Division is responsible for regular maintenance, minor repairs, and servicing of over 1,200 pieces of equipment. Types of vehicles include 71 dump trucks, 11 wheel loaders, 13 backhoes, 6 bobcats, 5 motor graders, and 31 4x4 pickups. Other equipment includes mowers, chainsaws, weed whackers, asphalt saws, tampers, and pavers. The Bureau also performs regular maintenance and cleaning of 7 district buildings and grounds to maintain structural integrity and appearance.
Pavement Management Program - The Infrastructure Management Division is responsible for managing the inventory, inspection, and development of the County's Road Surface Treatment, Resurfacing, and Reconstruction Capital Program. All roads are evaluated every three years to determine conditions. Roads conditions are evaluated based on numerous criteria such as potholes, cracks, rutting, raveling, ride quality, traffic volume, and drainage. Each of these categories is assigned a point range. Severity and the extent of the problem are also taken into consideration. The total of these points is deducted from 100 (a perfect road) which then determines its condition rating. Roads will be added to the resurfacing and reconstruction program in an order based on the condition rating and funding availability. The construction work is assigned to the County’s paving contractor through the competitive bid process. Design services are provided by a number of consulting firms by means of a competitive bid process.
Masonry Program - The Infrastructure Management Division is responsible for managing the inventory, inspection, and development of the County's Masonry Infrastructure Capital Program. All sidewalks, curbs, and gutters are evaluated every three years to determine conditions. Masonry conditions are evaluated based on numerous criteria such as damage, cracks, raveling, differential settlement, and poor drainage. Each of these categories is assigned a point range. Severity and the extent of the problem are also taken into consideration. The Infrastructure Management Division is responsible for permanent replacement of curb and gutter along County-maintained roadways. They are also responsible for the permanent replacement of concrete sidewalks, driveway aprons, and handicap ramps that are damaged due to trees, or County-maintained utilities. Masonry infrastructure will be added to the rehabilitation program in an order based on the condition rating and funding availability. The construction work is usually assigned to the County’s masonry contractor through the competitive bid process.
Stormwater Management Program - The Infrastructure Management Division is responsible for managing the inventory, inspection, and development of the County’s Stormwater Infrastructure Capital Program. This program aims to repair and/or replace aging/damaged storm drain systems and culverts throughout the County, as well as any associated design and permitting requirements. These projects are normally transferred to the Infrastructure Management Division by the Road Operations Division and are scheduled in a worst-first priority order. The construction work is usually assigned to the County’s storm drain contractor through the competitive bid process. Design services are provided by a number of consulting firms by means of a competitive bid process.
Stormwater Pond Maintenance - The Infrastructure Management Division is responsible for managing the inventory, inspection, and maintenance of 693 stormwater management facilities that are collectively referred to as Best Management Practices (BMPs). The BMP inventory is further delineated into 430 pond and 263 underground infiltration type structures. The maintenance work is usually assigned to the County’s pond contractor through the competitive bid process.
Emergency Storm Drain Program - Within the appropriated funding level, this program aims to resolve flooding and/or standing water issues in areas where stormwater conveyance systems do not presently exist or are grossly inadequate. The Road Operations Division normally transfers the more complicated projects to the Infrastructure Management Division. The projects are then evaluated using a 100-point rating system that takes into consideration several factors, including public safety, environmental concerns, health issues, impact on private property, and the extent of the problem. These are scheduled in a worst-first priority order. These projects usually require construction drawings and permits. A contractor working under the direction of the Infrastructure Management Division performs design or construction services provided by a number of consultants/contractors by means of a competitive bid process.
Traffic Engineering - The Traffic Engineering Division is responsible for providing technical analysis of the County's road network, evaluating the need for new signals through traffic counts, identifying the need for new guardrails, and resolving neighborhood traffic control problems through meetings with community groups to determine the best approach to solve problems through further traffic calming devices, or traditional signs and signals.
Traffic Operations - The Traffic Engineering Division is responsible for the manufacturing, installation, and maintenance of 68,000 signs on County-maintained roadways. These signs include street name signs, all traffic control signage attendant to each road such as yield or stop, and signage providing direction, advisory, or regulatory information. The program is also responsible for all pavement markings on County roadways. The County paints approximately 900 miles of centerline and 850 miles of edge lines. The division maintains and coordinates 98 County-owned traffic signals, 9 firehouse signals, 4 hazard beacons, 4 pedestrian crossings, 44 school flashers, and 6 speed flashers. The division is able to communicate remotely with all school flashers and 75% of traffic signals. The division works closely with the State Highway Administration on traffic operations.
Streetlights - The Traffic Engineering Division is responsible for managing the inventory and maintenance of 36,000 streetlights along County-maintained roadways. Baltimore Gas and Electric (BGE) crews perform all repairs and maintenance on these lights.