County officials, heeding Gambrills business owners upset that access to a local road has been cut off by the upgrading of Route 32, havedrawn up two plans that would simplify access to businesses.
County Executive Robert R. Neall asked the Department of Public Works to draw up the alternatives -- both involving new on-ramps connecting Gambrills Road to Route 32 -- after meeting with the business leaders during a tour of Odenton earlier this month.
"It is up to the state where they want to go from here," said Neall spokeswoman Louise Hayman.
One of the county's proposals would allow only cars heading east on Route 32 to get off on Gambrills Road. It also would allow cars to enter the eastbound lanes of Route 32 from Gambrills Road.
The second alternative is a diamond-shaped interchange that would allow cars to exit and enter both roads from all directions. But it would use less land than a cloverleaf and would require cars to cross opposing lanes to get on the ramps.
State officials looked at the plans Monday night, but have not commented on them.
Anne Sieling, spokeswoman for the county Department of Public Works, said the state highway officials "thanked us for what we had done and said they could get back to us."
Gambrills Road, which usedto intersect Route 32, was closed last year. The $200 million Route 32 overhaul will link U.S. 29 in Columbia with Interstate 97, a main highway between Baltimore and Annapolis.
When construction is complete later this year, the state plans to build a bridge over Route 32for Gambrills Road. But there were no plans to provide access to Gambrills Road from Route 32.
That angered the owners of at least twobusinesses, Kaufmann's Tavern, near Gambrills Road and Route 32, andJerman's IGA, near Gambrills Road and Route 175. They claim businesshas fallen off as much as 30 percent since the road was altered.
The state counters that building another intersection at Gambrills Road would be unsafe. The road is too close to the intersection of routes 32 and 3, as well as the intersection now under construction at Burns Crossing Road.
At least 44 Gambrills residents agree. They sent a petition to Neall and the State Highway Administration this monthasking that the state stick to its original plans.
"Surely, people's businesses will return to normal when the economy gets better andGambrills Road reopens," wrote John R. Tobin Jr., who lives on Claffy Avenue. "While we appreciate the problems that the closing of Gambrills Road at Route 32 has caused both Kaufmann's and Jerman's, as well as other businesses here, we do not feel this exit ramp is the answer to their problems."
The residents said there already is too much traffic on the road, and adding ramps will only worsen the situation. "It is safe now," says the letter, "but certainly would not be if it becomes an exit ramp."