Route 30 detour expected to snarl Hampstead traffic Shutdown to end Friday afternoon

August 22, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Prepare to be really annoyed.

For the 20,000 drivers a day who use Route 30 through Hampstead, the long drive will be longer than usual most of this week.

Route 30 will be shut down at the northern rail crossing from 9 a.m. tomorrow until 3 p.m. Friday, according to the State Highway Administration.

CSX Transportation will install a new rubberized crossing that should provide a smoother surface for vehicle traffic.

It also will have a longer life than the current crossing.

"Hopefully, Monday will be the worst day," said Hampstead Police Chief Ken Russell, who said he thinks people will find alternate routes after one miserable rush hour.

An advisory is being broadcast over 530 AM radio, to alert people to the closure.

The official detour approved by the State Highways Administration will divert traffic onto Route 27 and Route 482.

"I think that's going to cause quite a backup," Chief Russell said.

He said he believes the official detour should have been via Route 27 and Route 140. That way, he said, the traffic would have been channeled away from Hampstead, and potential backups at the intersection of routes 30 and 482 would have been avoided.

"I'm hoping that the tractor-trailer drivers have sense enough" to take Route 27 on to Route 140, Chief Russell said.

However, he said he talked with one truck driver by CB radio Thursday to ask what his company planned to do during the road closure.

The driver, who had just passed an electric sign warning of the detour, said he didn't know the road was going to be closed.

Alternate routes for some drivers include Falls Road and Interstate 83.

Many drivers also are expected to take Brodbeck Road to Route 482. However, Chief Russell said this route includes tight curves and low, overhanging branches, and is not suitable for large vehicles.

Chief Russell said his department will "have to play it by ear" in coping with snarls caused by the closure. He said he might have to station officers at intersections to direct traffic if signals are overwhelmed.

Hampstead Mayor Clint Becker said the addition of a fourth officer to the town police force will give more flexibility in responding to traffic during the closure.

"It's unfortunate that we have to do it," Mr. Becker said. "It was the best option we could come up with."

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