For years, Hanover Pike rush-hour commuters on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line have had to endure increasing traffic along the two-lane roadway.
The highway -- which runs for about 30 miles from U.S. 30 in Adams County, Pa., to Interstate 795 in Baltimore County -- hasbeen subject to decades of suburban development, as more people working in the Baltimore region build houses along the route.
At its best -- say, in the midafternoon or after 8 p.m. -- Hanover Pike offers a straight shot to the Baltimore Beltway.
At its worst, the road becomes deadly, as it has nearly two dozen times over the past seven years.
To combat the growing traffic congestion and to make sure development on one end of the road doesn't tie up trafficat the other, officials from Carroll and Baltimore counties and Adams and York counties in Pennsylvania are to meet tomorrow night in Manchester in what is believed to be the first time Pennsylvania and Maryland have agreed to look at the road together.
"This is the firsttime I recall the two states cooperating on anything major," said Robin W. Yingling, a Carroll County transportation planner. "I hope as a result of this more attention can be paid to Hanover Pike."
About 70 business, community and government leaders have been invited to the 7 p.m. meeting at Manchester Elementary School, Yingling said.
The task force -- which is not expected to receive any money from Maryland, but could receive some of the $300,000 Pennsylvania has set aside for the Hanover Pike -- expects to take about a year to put together a study, Yingling said.
Yingling has called the roadway "an antiquated highway characterized by extremely heavy commuter traffic, uncontrolled and almost unlimited access, and high accident and fatality rates."
The pike starts south at U.S. 30 in Adams County, continues about five miles to Hanover in York County, then stretches about eight miles to the state line, traverses 10 miles in Carroll, then about seven more to I-795 in Baltimore County. In Pennsylvania, the road is known as Route 94; in Maryland, it is state Route 30.
The two-state, four-county look at the roadway is expected to end up as anunofficial master plan.
"Something of this sort just makes sense," said Reed J. Dunn Jr., director of the York County Planning Commission. "Growth and development does not obey state or county lines."
While such a master plan will not be binding on any of the jurisdictions along Hanover Pike, it will allow county and town planning commissions to gauge the impact their actions will have up and down the roadway.
"One of our concerns is knowing what impact to us a major difference or improvement to the road down south will have," said Richard H. Schmoyer, director of development for the Adams County Office of Planning and Development.
Over the last several years, Carroll County planning officials have drawn up master plans for the two planning areas -- Manchester and Hampstead -- along the roadway.
Baltimore County is in the process of finishing a master plan for its portion of the roadway. York and Adams counties also have taken independent looks at the highway.
"We need to get all of the jurisdictions,even the little ones, working together from the same sheet of music," Yingling said. "In a sense, it will be a sort of master plan that everyone can turn to."
The task force will take a look at current conditions along the roadway, as well as at current zoning provisions.
For years, the towns of Hampstead and Manchester have lobbied thestate for money to build bypasses around the towns to ease congestion. So far, no money has been allocated for either project.
In Pennsylvania, officials say, the roadway has been put into the state's latest 12-year transportation planning budget for further study and analysis.
"There is a corridor there," said York County's Dunn. "Every indication says to us that it will continue to be an important corridor. We ought to try and forecast just what is going to happen to it."