Representatives of the Maryland Highway Administration,
Representatives of the Maryland Highway Administration, the National Park Service and the project contractor met on Friday, July 20, to discuss the debris found under the Hancock Bridge, which caused a halt to work on the structure two weeks ago.
The meeting was held to hear stipulations by the Park Service for future work and to obtain a temporary work permit, said Kelly Boulware, a Highway Administration spokesperson.
Boulware said the contractor was issued a temporary work permit for Friday only, but is hopeful that a permanent permit will be reissued on Monday to allow remaining bridge work in the vicinity of the canal and towpath to proceed.
Robert Hartman, Deputy Superintendent of the C&O Canal National Historical Park, confirmed that a temporary work permit had been issued.
The temporary permit allows the contractor to move hoses from the park property to the work platform, according to Boulware.
Two of the agreements made at the July 20 meeting were that workers would add more signage near the towpath and that the containment system on the bridge would include more tarp to collect materials, said Boulware.
According to Hartman, the park service gave permission only for the contractor to relocate equipment installed under the bridge section, to install a new and improved containment system and to "take care of safety things."
Hartman said the contractor had redesigned his enclosure to contain more of the debris from the work and the Highway Administration agreed to step up inspection of the area.
Hartman hoped that by Monday the contractor would be issued a new permit to complete the job.
According to Boulware, samples taken from the canal by the Park Service last week were tested and were negative for contaminants or paint.
Samples taken and tested at the park have so far yielded no definitive results because not all of the tests have come back, Hartman said.
Hartman also said the area had been cleared of debris
and the soil beneath the bridge did not appear to be compromised.
"The contractor has done a remarkable job in cleaning up the area, and there doesn't seem to be any change in soil conditions," Hartman said.
On Monday, a Park Service representative was to contact the highway administration to let them know if a permanent permit would be issued.