Crofton residents want to ban them from local road WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills

FUROR OVER TRUCKS' ROAR

September 28, 1993|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff Writer

An article about truck traffic on Route 424 in yesterday's Anne Arundel edition gave an incorrect total in an informal survey conducted by a local resident. Mary Mehlman said she has counted as many as 60 trucks an hour passing her Crofton home.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Large trucks rumbling past homes on Davidsonville Road in Crofton have angered residents who are trying to convince the state to bar the vehicles and force the owners to use alternate routes.

"It's gotten progressively worse," said Mary Mehlman, co-founder Citizens Against Truck Traffic (CATT). "Believe me, it is bad."

Last night, about 100 residents met at Crofton Middle School with state Del. Marsha G. Perry, D-Crofton, state highway engineers and state and county police officers to discuss the situation.

FOR THE RECORD - CORRECTION

"We need to take action now" before a tragedy occurs, said Zack Shariff, who has two small children, including a 7-year-old daughter, who walk along Davidsonville Road to Crofton Elementary School.

State Highway Administration engineers have been monitoring truck traffic on the stretch of road from Md. 3 to U.S. 50. An SHA spokesman said the month-long study should be completed by the end of October.

CATT has so far collected 400 signatures on a petition calling for a total truck ban on the road, which also is known as Route 424. Trucks already are banned between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., as part of a compromise reached between the state and communities several years ago.

"We're not out to put truckers out of business," said Patrick Hornberger, a CATT co-founder. "We just want them to spend a few extra bucks and get out of our hair."

A number of trucks on Route 424 are heading from the paving and rubble landfill operations across Route 3 to landfills near Annapolis and in southern Anne Arundel County. Other trucks belong to contractors who are building in the area.

Ron Gardner, vice president of E. L. Gardner, which runs a sand and gravel and rock-crushing operation at Routes 3 and 424, said he believes the increased traffic is only temporary.

"The road is being used more and more because of construction on Route 50," he said, explaining that some traffic must backtrack several miles and turn around because of closed exit and entrance ramps.

A representative of Campbell Sand and Gravel on Conway Road contended that the stretch of Davidsonville Road in question was built to handle the traffic and that it provides a more direct link to U.S. Route 50.

But more traffic could be coming. A plan by The Halle Cos. for a rubble landfill at the intersection of Routes 3 and 424 -- now being considered by the county Board of Appeals -- could add 300 trucks daily on the road.

Preliminary results from the state study show the number of trucks using Davidsonville Road up about 2 percent from 1987, the last time a similar study was done. State officials said that in the last three years, 124 traffic accidents had occurred on the part of the road being studied, with only 2.4 percent involving trucks.

Last night, Ms. Perry told the boisterous crowd, many of whom demanded immediate action, that the road should be limited to local traffic.

"Route 424 is a main street in Crofton," the delegate said in an interview. "It should be considered a main street that runs through the middle of a community."

Ms. Perry said the truckers will argue that it is to their economic advantage to use Davidsonville Road, and that state officials "generally support that."

Some residents, like Ms. Mehlman, said they have counted 60 large trucks a day going past their homes.

Chuck Brown, an SHA spokesman, says traffic engineers have been out all month counting trucks, taking down license plate numbers and, in some cases, handing out questionnaires. The engineers also are conducting a study of accidents on Davidsonville Road.

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