State outlines options for Route 140 traffic

April 12, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

The State Highway Administration plans to introduce its visions of ways to deal with Route 140 traffic around Westminster by 2015 at a public meeting in May.

Options introduced to the Westminster City Council at last night's meeting included two northern bypass routes and one southern route. The highway administration also included possible ways to add lanes and improve traffic flow on the existing road, far less expensive alternatives to a bypass.

State highway representatives are scheduled to outline the choices for the public at an informational meeting from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 26 in the Westminster High School cafeteria. The agency plans a public hearing at 7 p.m June 23 in the high school's auditorium.

The southern bypass route would cut through one of Westminster's fastest-growing areas and would take part of the Wakefield Valley Golf Course, city Planning Director Thomas B. Beyard pointed out.

Council President Kenneth A. Yowan, who lives in the Avondale Run subdivision, joked that the proposed bypass would be close enough to his front door to reduce his commuting time to his job, but by the time it's built, "I'll be retired."

Neil J. Pedersen, director of planning and preliminary engineering for the highway department, said the southern alignment was selected over four other options considered earlier because "development activities in the other [possible areas] foreclosed us."

Mr. Yowan recalled that he had attended a meeting on possible Westminster area bypass routes a decade ago. "You've talked the talk for about 11 years now. When are you going to walk the walk?" he asked.

Mr. Pedersen replied that even without delays in financing, the project would require about three years for engineering and rights of way acquisition, and three or four years for construction. He said it currently has state money for preliminary planning, the stage it is now in.

The alternatives:

* Three lanes on Route 140 from Route 97 north to Old Baltimore Road, which would meet only short-term needs. Most intersections would be at capacity before 2015. Estimated cost: $8 million to $10 million.

* Extend 140 as a divided highway to west of Route 31. There would be three lanes in each direction from Route 97 north to Sullivan Road, four lanes from Sullivan Road to Old Baltimore Road and three lanes to east of the state police barracks. Estimated cost: $40 million to $45 million.

* Three lanes on 140 in each direction from Route 97 north to Old Baltimore Road and an interchange at Route 97 south. Route 140 cross traffic would be banned except for left turns from 140. Estimated cost: $60 million to $65 million. A similar alternative with a ramp at Route 31 would cost $70 million to $75 million.

* Northern bypass, generally along the county's master plan alignment with some modifications. Route 97 south would be extended north to intersect with the bypass. The bypass would also have an interchange at Meadow Branch Road. Estimated cost: $220 million to $230 million.

* Northern bypass along the original master plan alignment, with interchanges at Route 97 north, Route 27 and Gorsuch Road. Estimated cost: $220 to $230 million.

* Southern bypass, 600 feet south of the Route 97-Route 32 intersection, interchanges at Route 31, Kate Wagner Road and Routes 32 and 97. Estimated cost: $230 million to $250 million.

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