Delays, Snarls, Fatals -- And The County's Roads No Closer To Expansion

#9 News Story

December 30, 1990|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Staff writer

Driving from one end of the county to the other continued to become more difficult in 1990, as more and more people piled onto Carroll's roads.

And while some county thoroughfares more resemble parking lots than quaint, two-lane highways during morning and evening rush hours, new road projects that have been in the works for years continued to be held up by citizen opposition and evaporating state money.

Bypasses to the increasingly busy Route 30 -- a major commuter link between Pennsylvania and Baltimore since the Northwest Expressway opened in 1987 -- remain a reality only in state and county planning manuals.

And a "mini-bypass" southwest of Westminster and a proposed Capital Beltway bypass that could skirt Mount Airy continue to be little more than vague notions to state and county planning officials.

Manchester and Hampstead have anticipated bypasses to their stretches of Route 30 for more than 20 years now, but neither expects to see construction for years to come.

"You begin to wonder if this thing is ever going to get built," Hampstead Manager John A. Riley said in November.

Hampstead's bypass made it into the State Highway Administration's master plan for 1992 -- until funding for the roadway was frozen in November, an apparent victim of the state's budget woes.

In Manchester, the bypass is one of the major components of the town's master plan. However, the plan itself has yet to be approved.

A raucous May public meeting, several postponed follow-up meetings, and no action by town or county officials leave that plan in limbo.

Often, bypasses are designed around a town's master plan. As in Manchester, Union Bridge's master plan was the topic of a loud hearing in May, just days before 200 people turned out for Manchester's master plan meeting. The plan for Union Bridge also called for the construction of new roadways in anticipation of future growth.

The Westminster "mini-bypass" -- a small network of two-lane roads near the quarry district along Medford and Stone Chapel Roads -- also was in the news in 1990.

As with other road construction projects, progress on the mini-bypass was slow. Instead of alleviating traffic congestion, the new roadways there are supposed to divert the almost 24-hour-a-day truck traffic associated with the quarries.

And while it could affect only a sliver of the county, many residents turned out in early June for a preliminary hearing on a proposed bypass to the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495). Such a bypass would bring added traffic to Interstate 70 and surrounding areas. Most residents at the meeting were not in favor of the bypass.

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