Keep Interchange Closed

Readers write

April 22, 1992

From: Thomas H. Dixon III

President

Village of Olde Mill Community Association Inc.

Editor's note:This letter is addressed to state Secretary of Transportation O. James Lighthizer.

As the former county executive for Anne Arundel County, you were involved in the planning for Interstate 97, which was created from the old U.S. Route 301/Maryland Route 3. We met with the planners in the early 1980s to discuss the realignment of existing roads and the construction of new roads. We heard from the federal highway planners who stated that federal law dictates that two interchanges on a federal interstate highway may not be located within one mileof each other.

We supported that federal requirement because we could see the necessity of making sure that there was at least one mile between the interchanges since vehicles will be entering and exiting from the roadways at speeds around 55 mph. We also supported the requirement since it meant that an interchange could not be built at Old Mill Road since there was to be an interchange built at Crain Highway/New Cut Road.

At the time, Old Mill Road had in excess of 12,500 vehicles each and every day, with the volume of traffic increasing each year. Since Old Mill divides the Village of Olde Mill into northand south regions, we have children crossing this very busy county "arterial collector" road on a daily basis. They traveled north acrossthe busy road to get to school each day, to get to the Olde Mill/Southgate Park for the playing fields, playground, and tennis courts andto visit their friends. They traveled south across the road to get to our community pool, ball fields, and to shop at the community shopping center.

With the planning for the closing of the Olde Mill interchange with Route 3, we were ecstatic. Along with the opening of aneastbound exit onto Route 100, we saw this as the first real attemptto stop our daily increase in vehicular traffic. We have noticed a drop in traffic volume, vehicles have slowed somewhat, and we find it easier to cross Old Mill Road, both by foot and by car.

Olde Mill started in 1970 with a shopping center in the middle of the communitywith a bank, hairdresser, 7-Eleven, food carryout and several other stores. Just a few years ago, two larger shopping centers were built in the median strip of Route 3 with gas pumps and a Lotto machine, primarily to accommodate the traveling public. Since there are only about 2,000 homes and apartments in the immediate area, three convenience stores were more than enough to service the residential area.

Now it appears that the merchants, who came after the homes were built,are saying that the closing of the Old Mill interchange is causing financial hardship for them. The closing of one 7-Eleven with another one still operating about a half-mile away is not a problem. The financial hardship experienced by the merchants is also caused by the current recession, which is affecting all businesses.

Generally, the businesses that are now complaining and asking that the Olde Mill interchange be reopened were all constructed long after the plans were finalized for I-97. In some cases, the businesses opened after the construction had begun. A new Amoco gas and convenience mart (very similar to the closed 7-Eleven) has just opened on Veteran's Highway, lessthan a quarter-mile from the closed 7-Eleven's location.

The Village of Olde Mill Community Association has been very active in community growth in the area for many years. We do not need or want the Olde Mill interchange reopened to traffic. We are now trying to solve some of our traffic volume problems. Please do not create more problems.

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