Dell asks residents their views on extending I-795 About 100 to discuss highway Wednesday

April 04, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

Carroll Commissioner Donald I. Dell said he wanted feedback about his idea to extend Interstate 795 through the county.

He's getting it.

Finksburg residents will meet Wednesday to form a citizens group to discuss his plan and offer alternatives.

The president of Maryland Midland Railway Inc. has proposed a different route for extending the highway.

Other residents are writing letters to local papers and the commissioners.

Some want to know more about Mr. Dell's plan, which would extend I-795 parallel to Route 140 from Baltimore County through Carroll to connect with Route 15 in Pennsylvania.

Others say they don't like the idea because it would disrupt the quiet country atmosphere they enjoy in the county and because an interstate highway would hurt their property values.

Mr. Dell has emphasized that his idea is just a proposal.

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said he supports the idea.

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said she doesn't, because the plan would eliminate the proposed Route 30 bypass in Hampstead and Manchester.

About 100 Finksburg residents have been invited to "a meeting of concerned citizens" at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Emory United Methodist Church, 1600 Emory Road.

"We want to get all our facts and get organized and listen to what people have to say," said Mary Lewis, who is coordinating the group.

"I realized there was opposition to this, and I realized individual citizens would not be as effective as if we were organized," she said.

Mrs. Lewis said she hoped to form a small committee Wednesday to guide the group.

Residents will discuss such alternatives to building a highway as using more park-and-ride lots, car pools and commuter buses, she said.

They also will talk about Mr. Dell's other proposals to build an incinerator at the Northern Landfill and a sewage-treatment plant in Finksburg.

In a March 23 letter to Mr. Dell and Mrs. Gouge, Maryland Midland President Paul D. Denton praised Mr. Dell for proposing to extend the highway.

"As the old saying goes, the pioneers get the arrows. But I will go on record as saying [that] I support the concept of extending I-795, it is sorely needed by our county by any measure," Mr.

Denton wrote.

Mr. Denton, who operates the railroad based in Union Bridge, is a member of the county's Economic Development Commission.

In a telephone interview Friday, he said the new highway is needed because Route 140 is overloaded.

"The road is grossly congested and overcrowded at the rush hours. At times it's impassable," he said.

But he offered an alternative to Mr. Dell's plan that would affect fewer homeowners: upgrading Route 140 from Route 91 in Finksburg to Reese Road and using that for an I-795 extension. Near Reese, where the Northern Landfill is located, the highway would be directed north with a cloverleaf near Route 27 and Old Manchester Road, Mr. Denton suggested.

This alternative incorporates the planned Westminster bypass, which would be eliminated in Mr. Dell's proposal, he said.

"I feel the big problem with the extension is its location," Mr. Denton said in his letter to the commissioners. "To build the public consensus for support, in my opinion, we need to look at it in a manner where the most benefit with the least pain."

Mr. Denton also suggested building the Route 30 bypass. He said extending I-795 will not solve traffic problems on that road.

"I don't think it's an either-or thing. I think we have to do both," he said. Some county roads are moving toward gridlock, he said, and that is not good for Carroll businesses.

"Our businesses can't survive if we can't move our stuff," Mr. Denton said.

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