State still reviewing bypass proposal

May 19, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

The State Highway Administration last night told members of a committee considering ways to ease traffic congestion on Route 3 in Crofton that it has not finished its review of a western bypass route suggested by community leaders.

The proposed route is farther west than one advanced by the state in 1990, and local officials hope it would reduce the amount of wetlands damaged.

Neil Pedersen, chief planner with the state agency, said environmental review agencies such as the Army Corps of Engineers and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources have made it clear that unless potential damage to wetlands was substantially reduced, a western bypass around Crofton would not be approved.

SHA officials had been scheduled to announce last night whether they thought the community's proposal would meet environmental standards, but they postponed their announcement, saying they had only recently hired a consultant to study the proposal.

The SHA also agreed last night to pay for preliminary studies of several other options for easing congestion on Route 3.

The state has hired Norine M. Walker, an engineer with Greiner Inc. of Timonium, to conduct the study.

She will consider the impact on the environment and the community and the engineering requirements for several options.

One of the options to be studied is a proposal to upgrade Route 3 through Crofton to six lanes, with service roads on each side. Local officials have vehemently opposed that, saying it would harm businesses along Route 3.

Other alternatives to be studied include lesser improvements to the highway and the western bypass routes proposed by local officials and state highway officials.

Mr. Pedersen said the state study will cost "tens of thousands of dollars," but could not give a specific estimate.

The committee, which includes officials from Crofton, Bowie, local civic associations and the SHA, agreed last night that an eastern bypass around Crofton probably would not work.

"I think it's a loser. I wouldn't want to spend any money on it," said Robert Scott, president of the Greater Crofton Council.

He said the eastern bypass route would pass through too many heavily developed neighborhoods to be feasible.

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