National Security Agency officials have sought the help of the county's State House delegation to solve a growing number of auto accidents in front of the top-secret listening post at Fort George G. Meade.
NSA Policy Director Richard W. Gronet has asked the county's 18 state lawmakers to intervene with the state Department of Transportation to finish the expansion of Route 32 in front of the federal agency's headquarters.
The State Highway Administration has expanded much of Route 32, once a country road, into a high-speed freeway linking Annapolis and Columbia. However, a 1.5-mile section of the highway has not been completed. And, worse, Gronet said in a Jan. 4 letter to Delegate John Astle, D-Annapolis, the SHA has no money in its budget to finish the project.
The 13-member House of Delegates contingent discussed the letter at its regular Friday morning meeting. Chairman Astle said the state lawmakers will inquire about the road and may lobby Maryland's U.S. congressional delegation for federal support as well.
"If this critical stretch of new road is not completed, it will increasinglybe overloaded with high-speed traffic," Gronet said in the letter. "We cannot emphasize enough that failure to complete the freeway will create a major safety problem for all motorists."
Gronet reported 23 accidents occurred in 1988 along that stretch of Route 32. The number of accidents jumped to 53 in 1989; 40 accidents had occurred by Sept. 30 last year.
During the last two years, 33 accidents involved personal injuries, Gronet said. Less than half of those accidents involved NSA or military employees.
NSA officials have sought the money from the U.S. Department of Defense to complete the road. But, Gronet said, no money is available there either.
Last summer, the NSA wanted the state to pay for a $60 million access road from Route 32 into its Fort Meade compound. But negotiations stalled.
The proposed access road would be part of a $200 million reconstruction of Route 32, linking U.S. 29 in Howard County to Route 3 and Interstate 97. Much of the widening is expected to be complete by fall 1992.