Route 140 improvement study sought

May 17, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County will ask the State Highway Administration to study how Route 140 from the end of Interstate 795 in Baltimore County to Reese Road can be improved.

Improvements may include a bridge over the intersection with Route 91 in Finksburg, interchanges instead of lights at intersections such as Sandymount Road, and access roads.

"We can fix up that road faster than we can get anything new," Planning Director Edmund R. Cueman told the county commissioners yesterday.

Curtailing access to Route 140 would be an alterative to extending I-795 through Carroll, he said. SHA officials and the governor said last year that they did not support extending the interstate.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell supports the idea of extending I-795, but Commissioners Elmer C. Lippy and Julia W. Gouge do not.

The commissioners agreed to send a letter to State Highway Administrator Hal Kassoff asking whether the state would do an engineering study of Route 140 under the "State Access Control Program."

The SHA did a similar study on U.S. 50 from the Bay Bridge to the split with U.S. 301, Mr. Cueman said.

If the county did its own study, it could cost about $300,000, he said.

If the state does the study, Carroll could get in line for state capital budget money to be spent on road improvements, Mr. Cueman said. The county also would be expected to adhere to the state's recommendation when the study is completed, he said.

Route 140 was the last bypass built in Maryland without any controls on access to the road, county transportation planner Steven C. Horn said. A planned bypass around Westminster won't solve all congestion problems on Route 140 because the )) bypass will not affect the intersection with Route 91 in Finksburg, he said.

Route 140 will continue to be congested as more people move to the area. This week, workers are installing two traffic signals on -- Route 140 just over the Carroll-Baltimore county line at the intersections of roads leading to two new housing developments.

The SHA also plans to install concrete "Jersey walls" from the end of I-795 to near the Carroll County line and has lowered the speed limit on that part of Route 140 to 50 mph from 55 mph, Mr. Horn said.

The commissioners said residents have called them to express concerns about increasing traffic. Yesterday, they listened to a Westminster resident who opposed the idea of extending I-795 or building a mass transit system to Carroll.

Jack Norris, 58, said any road extensions or train systems would bring to Carroll "inner-city youths" bent on committing crimes.

"We have problems enough in Carroll County without bringing Baltimore closer to us," he said.

Mr. Norris chided Mr. Lippy about the light rail. Last year, Mr. Lippy said he would like to see light-rail lines extended to Carroll.

But, Mr. Norris said, the commissioner and his family made plans to ride the train to a recent Oriole game, but took vans instead after a woman was stabbed at a light-rail station.

Mr. Lippy said that was true, but said he still supports a mass transit system in Carroll if crime problems can be solved.

"I can understand your apprehension," he told Mr. Norris.

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