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Main Street: Parking Meters, Repaving and Derailment Repairs

Installation of parking meters on hold as CSX continues restoration after a fatal train derailment in Ellicott City.

All but three parking spots are open to the public in the parking lot where a CSX train dumped tons of coal during a late last month, according county officials.

There is still a lot of work to be done to repair the damage left by the 21 cars of a freight train carrying coal that derailed just over Main Street, killing 19-year-olds and shutting down a main artery into the Historic District.

Read full coverage of the Ellicott City train derailment.

The road was re-opened four days later, but work still remains to be done, according to Public Works Director of Special Projects Steve Lafferty. 

"Howard County Government is continuing to coordinate with CSX and other government agencies to recover from last month's train derailment,” Lafferty wrote in a letter to Main Street business owners and residents.

“As you know," he wrote,"There is a lot of work that needs to be done to get Historic Ellicott City back on its feet.”

That work includes fixing the retaining wall in parking lot B, which collapsed during the train derailment. County spokesman Kevin Enright said the county believes the structural damage to the wall was “a direct result of the train derailment,” and did not collapse before the derailment.

County officials met with CSX on Friday, Enright said. There is not yet a schedule for reconstructing the wall, but it must be completed before additional work can begin. 

“It makes most sense that this major repair be done before the others,” Lafferty said in his letter. “We will have a much better idea of the timeframe for several other, larger repair projects that are needed in this area because of the derailment.”

After CSX completes its repairs to the retaining wall, repaving will get underway on Main Street, starting with the repair of broken curbs, Lafferty said. That work will block some of the on-street parking in the Historic District. Lafferty said signage will be posted 72 hours before the work begins to give residents, business owners and visitors notice. 

At the bottom of the list of projects is perhaps the most-talked about. At an Aug. 21 meeting, County Executive Ken Ulman announced a project to and Maryland Ave. 

At the meeting,  Diane Schwarzman, chief of the traffic engineering division said she hoped to begin installation of the smart meters this month however, the schedule may have to be delayed after the derailment and ensuing recovery.

“All that will depend on repaving Main Street schedule,” Enright said in an email, “Which needs to follow CSX work.”

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