Closing busy corner worries council Center and Main to be idled for at least 3 weeks

September 28, 1993|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Staff Writer

The Westminster City Council is concerned about the impact of closing the city's busiest intersection for at least three weeks.

The State Highway Administration told the council last night that the intersection of Center and Main streets would be closed starting Monday for utility and construction work.

"This is a critical intersection and the main route to the hospital," Councilman Kenneth Yowan said at the session last night. He said he was concerned about closing the intersection before the Oct. 9-10 Harvest Days at the Farm Museum, which attracts about 25,000 people.

"This is bitter medicine, and I don't like the taste, but I hope it makes us better," he said.

SHA officials said they would post appropriate signs and broadcast the closing on the radio traffic frequency, and change the timing on traffic lights along detour routes.

The city had asked SHA officials to consider keeping the intersection open while the work was being done, but state officials opted for closing it, based on safety and construction considerations.

"Closure was always part of the original plan, and we have not wavered from that," said Doug Rose, SHA district engineer. "It expedites and accelerates the work."

Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. of Maryland requires a minimum of five days to complete underground duct work.

"Once C&P is done, other utilities come into play," Mr. Rose said.

Workers need two weeks for grading, curb, gutter and sidewalk work. If traffic was allowed to use the intersection during construction, the project could take an additional three weeks, he said.

Allowing traffic to continue using the intersection would require flaggers and the erection of a barrier that would leave motorists a roadway about 9 feet wide.

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