6 sections of Beltway to get sound barriers

October 23, 1992|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

Federal, state and Baltimore County officials have agreed on a six-year, $26 million program to erect long-delayed sound barriers along six sections of the Baltimore Beltway.

The federal government will pay 80 percent of the costs, with the state and the county chipping in the rest, sources said. The county's share would be roughly $3 million.

The money comes from the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, known informally as the "Iced T" bill. It provides money for federal highway projects over the next six years. State and county officials have known about the agreement for several weeks, but kept it quiet so that Rep. Helen Delich Bentley could make the announcement Monday, one week before the Nov. 3 general election.

According to all sources, Mrs. Bentley was central in getting federal agencies to include the barriers in existing plans to widen and resurface most of the beltway.

"I got the federal money and pulled the state and county in," the 2nd District Republican said after she was told the news was out. "I feel very good [about getting the federal funds]."

Still, she was angry her announcement plans had been disrupted.

Bob Paff, who in June held a news conference in his back yard to complain about the barriers that had been promised but never funded, was glad to hear the news yesterday.

"I'm thrilled to know that it will be done," said Mr. Paff, whose back yard in the 1000 block of Adcock Road lies 25 feet from the Beltway's outer loop, between the Jones Falls Expressway and Interstate 83 north.

"I'm excited," said Mr. Paff, who wonders if the project really will be completed if public officials currently in office leave during the next several years.

Mrs. Bentley, who attended last summer's news conference in Mr. Paff's yard, said her office had worked on getting the funds before that event, as had other local offices.

During the last two weeks, state transportation officials, including state Transportation Secretary O. James Lightizer, have refused to comment publicly about the plans and have insisted they could not be involved with the announcement. Yesterday, Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden also refused to comment.

No new noise barriers have been built in Maryland since the 1990 election campaign. That's when Gov. William Donald Schaefer announced a barrier project on Interstate 95 in Howard County.

The six projects are located:

* Between Wilkens Avenue and Southwestern Boulevard near Arbutus.

* Between York and Dulaney Valley roads.

* Between the JFX and I-83 north -- Mr. Paff's section.

* Between Charles Street and York Road.

* Between U.S. 40 west and I-70.

* Between Loch Raven Boulevard and Perring Parkway.

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