Work delays make Gorman Road detour even more annoying NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

January 15, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Savage residents are counting the days until they can have their quiet streets back.

Since a portion of Gorman Road was closed a month ago, rush-hour noises have filled the town's usually peaceful roads.

The road closing, from U.S. 1 to Foundry Street, is the first stage of development of a shopping center at the old Freestate Raceway.

Commuters from the nearby Bolling Brook Farms development have had to travel a detour through Baltimore Street in Savage to get to U.S. 1.

Frank Weese, a mechanic at the Exxon gas station in Savage, says the closing has created a traffic mess.

During morning and evening rush hours, cars are lined up at the intersection of U.S. 1 and Howard Street, blocking the entrance to the station, and impatient motorists "fly" across the Exxon parking lot to get to U.S. 1.

"In the morning it gets so backed up you can't even get out [onto U.S. 1]," said Lisa Glenn, a waitress at Ma's Kettle on Baltimore Street.

The road reopening was scheduled for Jan. 4, but wet weather caused delays.

Freestate developer Bruce Jaffe said the road should be reopened next week.

"I've been pushing these guys," Mr. Jaffe said of the contractors working on Gorman Road. "But there's only so much you can do in the mud."

The construction work included building a storm water management pond and installing two storm drainage pipes underneath Gorman Road to the shopping center site.

More rock blasting work than was anticipated also contributed to the delayed opening of the road, Mr. Jaffe said.

In addition, this week the county asked the developer to build a barrier adjacent to the roadway for safety reasons, said James M. Irvin, the county's director of public works.

County Council Chairwoman Shane Pendergrass, whose district includes Savage, said she's received calls from area residents complaining about the inconveniences created by the road closing.

"People in Savage are unhappy that the traffic is backed up on Baltimore Street, and people in Bolling Brook are upset that everybody's unhappy about the traffic backed up on Baltimore Street," Ms. Pendergrass said.

Mr. Jaffe said he doesn't expect the section of Gorman Road to be closed again until it's closed permanently.

Freestate developers plan to build a new, widened Gorman road and install a light at the intersection of U.S. 1.

The old road will close and the new one will open on the same day, Mr. Jaffe said.

Despite the inconveniences of the current Gorman road closing, most area residents have supported the construction of a shopping center on the old Freestate Raceway and look forward having a neighborhood shopping center.

The unusual cooperation has come because the developer has worked closely with Savage and North Laurel community groups throughout the county planning process.

When residents expressed concerns over the amount of commercial and warehouse space originally planned for the property, for instance, the developers responded by submitting plans for a shopping center.

As part of the comprehensive rezoning of eastern Howard County, Freestate developers have requested rezoning of 26 acres to make room for more retail tenants, a change supported by the Savage Community Association.

Major features of the center include a home discount store, a toy store, a multiplex movie theater and a sports complex.

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