The Maryland State Highway Administration kicked off a $4 million project to improve safety at the I-70 (Dwight D. Eisenhower Highway) and I-81 (Maryland Veterans Memorial Highway) interchange in Hagerstown.

SHA is constructing new acceleration and deceleration lanes at two ramp movements to provide a safer merge area at the interchange: the eastbound I-70 ramp to southbound I-81 and the southbound I-81 ramp to westbound I-70. Crews will also resurface the ramps and apply new pavement markings as part of the work.

This is the second phase of improvements to the interchange. In 2009, SHA built acceleration and deceleration lanes to the two other ramps at the interchange.

The bridge on I-70 over Hopewell Road will be widened to accommodate new acceleration / deceleration lanes. SHA will increase the clearance under the bridge by lowering Hopewell Road by approximately 1 foot. To perform this work, crews closed Hopewell Road. SHA expects to reopen the road by the end of the year, weather permitting.

During construction be prepared for nighttime single lane and shoulder closures on eastbound and westbound I-70 Monday through Thursday between 7 p.m. and 4 a.m. and on Sunday morning between midnight and 11 a.m. Lane closures should also be expected on I-81 overnight between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. SHA anticipates completing the entire project in late 2012.

For those traveling near Hopewell Road, SHA has established detours for the temporary closure.

The I-70 / I-81 interchange carries 55,000 vehicles per day.