Intersection Plan Prompts Concerns About Safety

April 29, 1992|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff writer

Despite community support in Columbia for a new intersection linkingOakland Mills Road and Route 175, residents of Sewell's Orchard fearit would be hazardous for their community, the county Planning Boardwas told yesterday.

The link has been proposed to decrease traffic through Oakland Mills village.

"I know that members of the community are concerned about the speed and the traffic," said David Kinsley, president of the Sewell's Orchard Community Association.

If the intersection is built, trafficon the Sewell's Orchard stretch of Oakland Mills Road would become heavier and faster as motorists follow the alternate route, he said.

The community has yet to meet and adopt a formal position on the project, which would be planned and designed with $100,000 in the county's 1993 capital budget.

The Planning Board will consider yesterday's testimony, deliberate at a work session and make a recommendationto the County Council on the $3 million project.

"It looks like aperfectly grand way to go to me," said board member Nelson E. Fenwick, who asked what was to prevent the four-lane road from becoming a substitute for Snowden River Parkway.

Public Works Director James Irvin said the number of turns involved in getting to the new intersection would discourage that.

Residents of Oakland Mills Road, SohapLane and Thunder Hill Road have sought relief from through-traffic for more than 17 years. The Oakland Mills village association board, with the agreement of the Owen Brown and Long Reach boards saw the intersection as a way to channel traffic away from the two-lane residential roads.

The idea is that motorists who now use Oakland Mills asa shortcut between the Route 175-Thunder Hill intersection and neighborhoods to the south will use instead the proposed connection to geton Route 175.

Some residents expressed doubts about the connection's ability to divert motorists.

Diane Beil, a former Oakland Mills board member who lives on Sohap Lane, said motorists already use Oakland Mills and Sohap to avoid the light at Tamar Drive and Route 175. Likewise, they would continue on Oakland Mills to avoid the new light on 175, she told the board.

The solution to that problem, she said was to close Oakland Mills Road in conjunction with the new intersection's opening.

Irvin said that closing would be studied along with other options for the intersection.

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