Hampstead residents balk at Route 30 closure State road agency to decide timing

June 23, 1993|By Aglaia Pikounis | Aglaia Pikounis,Staff Writer Staff writer Katherine Richards contributed to this article.

The prospect of shutting down Route 30 for up to a week to renovate the CSX railroad crossing in the northern part of town does not sit well with some Hampstead residents and Town Council members.

The installation of a rubber and asphalt crossing will make the road surface smoother and more durable, wrote M. D. Ramsey, division engineer for CSX Transportation, in an April 29 letter to the State Highway Administration.

When a Hampstead resident asked at Monday's Town Council meeting whether the work could be done at night, Councilman Arthur Moler said the State Highway Administration would make the final decision on the timing.

Tom Dye, CSX project engineer, said yesterday he did not know when the work would begin, adding that the railroad is waiting for additional information from the State Highway Administration.

In April, CSX asked the State Highway Administration for permission to close Route 30 for five days, from Monday morning through Friday afternoon.

However, Douglas R. Rose, district engineer for the State Highway Administration, replied May 11 that this plan was "unacceptable." On a typical weekday, he wrote, the highway carries 20,000 vehicles.

Mr. Dye said yesterday that CSX has permission to close the road only over a non-holiday weekend to do the work.

However, he said it was "not practical" to do the work over a weekend. The workers would have to be paid time and a half for weekend work, he said, and asphalt may not be available.

Several residents asked Monday how traffic would be rerouted.

Councilman Wayne Thomas said yesterday that heavy vehicles would be rerouted onto routes 27 and 482. Other traffic would be redirected onto Brodbeck Road and Route 482.

Mr. Dye said the railroad is to pay for the project, which will cost at least $18,750.

Mr. Ramsey wrote that the southern Route 30 rail crossing in xTC Hampstead was rebuilt in December 1991.

Because the road was not completely closed during the work, he wrote, that crossing began to fail in January 1993. If the highway had been closed for the work, its expected lifetime would have been seven to 10 years, he wrote.

Even though the road was kept open during rush hour, and one lane was open the rest of the time, on one occasion the work caused a 10-mile backup reaching to I-795, he wrote.

In other business Monday, the Town Council formally passed the town's fiscal 1994 budget, which includes a $724,307 general fund and a $251,158 water fund.

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