Columbia Hills Residents Fear Strangulation By Highways

October 13, 1991|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff writer

The advent of construction on Route 100 has rekindled concerns in the Columbia Hills neighborhood, where residents fear they will be squeezed between two highways with only one way in or out.

Residents want another access road built but are told that it's the responsibility of different agencies.

The association will meet Oct. 22 to discuss the access issue andother community concerns with County Councilman Darrell Drown, D-2nd.

"The county has said it's the state's responsibility, and so far, the state has not agreed to provide it," said Carl Balser, county chief of comprehensive and transportation planning.

Two roads currently provide most of the access to Columbia Hills -- Sybert Drive andBendix Road. But construction plans for Route 100 will sandwich the neighborhood between it and Route 108 and would shut off the Sybert Road access some time during the spring of 1993. The prospects for an alternate route to the 357-home community are uncertain.

"Sybert Road was not supposed to be closed until we had a second means of ingress and egress," said Denny Stam, president of the Columbia Hills-Meadowbrook Farms Community Association. He was speaking at a meeting between about 100 residents and State Highway Administration officials Tuesday night.

Stam said association members voted four years ago for a plan that would connect Dower Drive at the community's northernend to Long Gate Parkway and Route 103. They were promised by highway officials that it would be finished by the time Sybert Road was closed.

County Public Works Director James M. Irvin said county planners are now working with SHA to make that link, but at the county's expense.

The county has agreed to pay the state to change wetlands permits, which could cost several thousand dollars, to allow the roadto cross the Red Branch over a culvert.

But until they determine who will pay for the road, there is no way of knowing whether such a road could be completed by the time Sybert closes.

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