Proposal to link roads likely to draw opponents

February 18, 1993|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Western Howard County residents plan to tell the Planning Board tonight that they don't want Sharp Road to connect with Old Rover Road.

The Public Works Department wants $583,000 to be included in the fiscal 1994 capital budget to fund the road linkage. The proposal is part of $108 million in new capital projects being requested by department heads.

The Planning Board will consider those requests in a 7:30 p.m. public hearing in the county office building.

What upsets residents along Sharp and Old Rover roads is that the connection shows up as an addition to a project they thought was completed last year.

When first included in the fiscal 1991 budget, the $122,000 undertaking was described as a project to "correct a poor road alignment and replace four, 36-inch culverts."

Residents thought the $70,000 authorized by the council last year would close out the project, since $52,000 had been authorized previously.

Residents were stunned when the project was redefined this year as providing 1,000 feet of new roadway connection between Old Rover Road and Sharp Road in addition to correcting a poor road alignment and replacing culverts.

The Public Works Department is asking that $583,000 be included in the fiscal 1994 capital budget to make the connection, saying "the connection will provide improved access for affected properties."

Sharp Road resident Debra Canterbury disagrees.

"We're very negative on it," she said. "We don't want it, and we will show up [tonight] to tell them that."

Sharp Road now dead ends 1,000 feet from the spot where Old Rover Road makes a 90-degree turn to the north.

Residents who live near Montgomery Road and Interstate 95 are also expected to testify tonight about three new road projects near their neighborhoods.

One is a $500,000 project to improve 1,000 feet of Montgomery Road west of Landing Road. The fiscal 1994 request is for $197,000 for land acquisition and preliminary plans and engineering.

A total of $635,000 is being requested in the coming fiscal year for a $7.4 million project to reconstruct 1.67 miles of Montgomery Road from Washington Boulevard to a proposed Marshalee Drive.

Phase I of the $4.2 million Marshalee Drive project is also included in the fiscal 1994 request, with $42,000 sought this year for preliminary plans and engineering.

Many of the other people attending tonight's hearing will be asking to be included rather than excluded in the coming capital budget

Getting projects approved will not be an easy task. If the state refuses to fund more than $2.2 million of the $13.5 million requested by the school board, the school request and a state-mandated cap of a landfill cell would use up nearly all the available bond money for fiscal 1994.

Without state aid, the school bond request would total $40 million and the landfill mandate would cost $12.7 million.

The county's bond affordability committee has yet to issue its report, but last year it recommended that the county sell no more than $52 million worth of general obligation bonds. County Executive Charles I. Ecker and the County Council approved $51 million.

This year the committee is expected to recommend a ceiling very close to last year's.

The Planning Board will advise Mr. Ecker March 1 as to which projects it believes he should include in his proposed capital budget.

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