Homes lie in paths of bypass

April 28, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

State Highway Administration officials said yesterday that the proposed southern route for a Westminster bypass would affect more properties than either of the suggested northern routes.

Meanwhile, Carroll County's Economic Development Commission (EDC) voted to recommend that county officials should investigate placing the proposed Interstate 795 extension on the Carroll master plan, but continue to push for state funding for a bypass around Westminster and another around the Route 30 communities of Hampstead and Manchester.

Carroll County Commissioner Donald I. Dell proposed the I-795 extension, which would run north between the Westminster and the Hampstead/Manchester area to the northeast, as a way to alleviate traffic congestion in all three communities.

The bypasses "cannot be held in isolation," said Robert A. "Max" Bair, county director of administrative services. "The objective here is to get to the destination equally as efficiently as getting around [the municipalities]."

For the Westminster bypass, state highway officials must eventually choose among several options, including a two northern routes, a southern route and various upgrades to Route 140.

Sue Rajan, SHA project manager for the proposed Westminster bypass, told the economic development group that the southern route would take about 35 homes and many lots under construction, cut a right of way through three historic sites and affect 6 acres of wetlands.

"The number of homes affected changes almost every day," she said, noting that the proposed route would pass through Eagleview, a new housing development off Uniontown Road. The southern proposal also would cut through the Wakefield Valley Golf and Conference Center and one of Westminster's fastest-growing areas.

"The maximum impact [with this option] is residential," Ms. Rajan said.

One northern route, already in the county's long-term master plan would take 29 homes -- three of which the county already has bought -- two businesses, cut a right of way through one historic site and have an impact on more than 12 acres of wetlands, she said.

An alternate northern route would take 27 homes -- including those purchased by the county -- three businesses, a right of way through an archaeological site, and have an impact on 7 acres of wetlands, Ms. Rajan said.

State and federal environmental officials had urged development of the alternate northern route to spare some of the wetlands, she said.

Ms. Rajan and James L. Wynn, an SHA engineer, assured EDC members that the state is working closely with county planners on the project and is aware that Carroll officials already have purchased much of the right of way along the northern route.

"That will play as a factor" in route selection, Mr. Wynn said.

Regardless of which route is chosen, state officials don't expect the project to be completed for seven to eight years, they said.

An open house-style informational meeting on the proposals will be from 6 to 9 p.m. May 26 at Westminster High School, Mr. Wynn said. Testimony will be accepted at 7 p.m. June 23 at the school after a 20-minute presentation, he said.

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