State wants Redskins to post bond for road improvements

May 25, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

Before it approves a new football stadium near Laurel, Anne Arundel County should make the Washington Redskins post a bond to pay for $52 million in road improvements endorsed by state lawmakers, State Highway Administration officials said yesterday.

If game day traffic congestion goes beyond levels predicted by the Redskins, the money could be used to pay for additional road improvements. Otherwise, it would be returned to the team, suggested Neil Pedersen, director of the SHA Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering.

In preliminary comments submitted yesterday to Anne Arundel planners, Mr. Pedersen questioned the Redskins' assumptions that 18 percent of their fans would take trains and buses to the stadium and that each car driven to the stadium would have 3.5 occupants. He said the best way to encourage fans to use mass transit would be to sharply limit the number of parking spaces available at the stadium or nearby.

And he warned that unless the Redskins can persuade their fans to take mass transit to games, traffic congestion might force the cost of road improvements higher than the $52 million estimate.

To reach their traffic projections, he wrote, the Redskins would have to implement traffic-control measures stronger than those at any other National Football League stadium.

Walter Lynch, the stadium project manager, said yesterday that he had not seen the SHA comments. "Until I've had a chance to review it and understand it, I have no comment," he said.

The $52 million road-improvement package endorsed by state lawmakers in March includes 32 local road improvements, a $6 million upgrading of a MARC station at the stadium and the widening of Route 198 from Route 197 to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

Even with these road improvements, a state-funded study said, there would be stop-and-go traffic for two hours before each game and 1.8 hours after each game on some major routes.

The Redskins submitted a traffic study of the area immediately surrounding the stadium when they filed a zoning request in April for permission to build a stadium on the site next to Laurel Race Course. That traffic study called for several local road improvements, including widening Route 198 eastbound from the Prince George's County line to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

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