'How many times do they want to dig up Montgomery Road?' project foe asks

February 21, 1993|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Staff Writer

Elkridge residents who live near Montgomery Road and Interstate 95 say three proposed road projects near their neighborhoods are ill-timed and would bring more traffic to the area.

Instead, about 20 residents told the Howard County Planning Board Thursday night, they want Route 100 completed before approval of new capital projects requested by the county Department of Public Works.

"We should do [Route] 100 first," said Barbara Wachs, executive board member of the Elkridge Community Association. "Montgomery Road is supposed to be a residential road, not a major thoroughfare."

The Department of Public Works is asking for a total of $635,000 in the coming fiscal year for a $7.4 million project to reconstruct and widen 1.67 miles of Montgomery Road from Washington Boulevard to a proposed Marshalee Drive. Construction would begin in 1996.

The department also wants $500,000 to improve 1,000 feet of Montgomery Road by removing a hill west of Landing Road. The fiscal 1994 request is for $197,000 for land acquisition and preliminary plans and engineering. Construction would begin in 1995.

The third project is a $4.2 million two-phase plan to construct a portion of Marshalee Road through a proposed residential, commercial and golfing community. The fiscal 1994 request is for $42,000 to pay for plans and engineering. Construction would begin in 1995.

But neighbors say the projects would only prolong the seemingly endless construction along Montgomery Road.

"There has been an orange cone sitting somewhere on Montgomery Road for the past 25 years," said Frank E. Harman, who was born and reared in the area. "How many times do they want to dig up Montgomery Road?"

Cathy Hudson, president of the Elkridge Community Association,called for an end to "piecemeal" construction projects along Montgomery Road. "Let's get a comprehensive plan for Montgomery Road and do it all at once," she said.

Residents fear that widening Montgomery Road from two lanes to four would disturb homes and destroy the rural character of their neighborhood.

"You're changing the character of the neighborhood," Ms. Wachs said. "Some tall oak trees will be cut off from people's front yards."

Mr. Harman said he fears that homes will be removed and remaining homes will suffer depreciated market values. "They're taking the front yards of everyone's property," Mr. Harman said. "Everything is going to be sitting in the middle of the street."

The Rev. Michael Russell of Grace Episcopal Church in Elkridge toldthe Planning Board the three projects would disrupt plans to expand and improve the church's parish hall along Montgomery Road.

"They'll take 50 feet out of our front yard," said Rev. Russell, referring to the proposed road widening. "It reduces our ability to expand and better serve the community."

Some residents questioned the merit of such a road project.

"It just seems like an awful lot of money that's not going to get us an awful lot of improvement," Ms. Hudson said.

Residents also questioned the timing of a plan to remove a hill west of Landing Road to improve sight distance. David Maier, who lives on Timberview Drive, said it does not make sense to remove the hill before Montgomery Road is widened. Others said the project will make the situation worse.

Residents also are unhappy with a proposal in which the county would pay for a portion of Marshalee Road, a four-lane road to serve a proposed 352-acre residential, commercial and golfing community called Centre 9500.

The U-shaped road, which would stretch from Meadowridge Road to Montgomery Road near Knives Lane, would bring additional traffic to east Montgomery Road that leads to Route 1, neighbors said.

"There should be an on-off exit to alleviate traffic on east Montgomery Road," Ms. Wachs said. "We would like to see east Montgomery Road remain a quiet, residential thoroughfare."

The Planning Board will advise County Executive Charles I. Ecker March 1 which projects it believes he should include in his proposed capital budget.

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