Officials outline eight bypass options for Westminster, might add another

May 27, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

About 450 people saw the writing on the wall last night, as the State Highway Administration displayed maps depicting the routes it is considering for the Westminster bypass.

But only a few people were aware of what could may become another option for SHA -- a not-so-new southern bypass alternative being explained at a table by 84-year-old Union Bridge resident W. Roger Roop, an option supported by Carroll County Del. Donald B. Elliott.

"Tape your map up there tonight. I'll hold it for you if I have to," Mr. Elliott said to Mr. Roop. The SHA proposals were taped to the walls around the room.

The SHA held last night's workshop at Westminster High School inform the public of the eight options being studied by the agency to alleviate congestion and improve safety and capacity on Route 140 from Hughes Shop Road to Reese Road.

Officials sought to update residents on the progress of the study since the last public meeting on the project was held in 1988, said project engineer Wayne Drury.

Mr. Roop has been presenting his bypass suggestions to the county and state since 1985, and officials say his ideas have merit.

"I think Roger has a lot of good ideas, and why I'm here tonight is because I don't understand why they haven't taken these ideas here into consideration," Mr. Elliott said.

At least one SHA bypass option was influenced by Mr. Roop's suggestions, said Sue Rajan, a member of the project planning team.

The Roop proposal would reroute westbound traffic on Route 140 at Reese Road using a southern arc that would connect Route 140 with Kate Wagner Road, crossing Routes 97 and 32.

The road, turning west-northwest, would then cross Route 27, swing northward to cut through Parr's Ridge and connect to Route 31 at the Avondale community.

Then the bypass would follow Routes 31 and 140 to the 140 intersection with Route 97 North.

The last leg of the bypass would reach from Route 97 to Route 482.

Delegate Elliott suggested eliminating the spur to Route 482 because of expense and environmental impact. Mr. Roop said he agreed, for the time being.

Other people milling about at last night's meeting had their own agendas. Some were interested in the proposals that only required modifications to Route 140. But most people lived along one of the proposed routes and were worried about the effects on their lives and property.

Pat Savary said her Grove Lane property would lose a triangular piece of land from the back lot if Alternative 10A -- a southern route that would require the removal of about 35 houses and many under construction, cut a right of way through three historic sites and affect 6 acres of wetlands -- was built.

"I didn't come to Carroll County to have a four-lane highway in my back yard," said Ms. Savary, a county resident for four years. "I could have stayed in Catonsville [Baltimore County] for that."

The Wilders and the Pfisterers of Lucabaugh Mill Road figure Ms. Savary has nothing to worry about -- especially since the county favors the northern bypass routes that would destroy the Wilders' home and pass right next to the Pfisterers'.

"They are having all this now, and it's like it has already been decided," said Laurie Pfisterer. "It's like they have these other proposals up to pacify us."

Cindy R. May of Gorsuch Road said she was interested in Mr. Roop's proposal -- or any other southern alternative that would not affect her home, a historic structure that was once a distillery master's home.

SHA officials will accept public comment on the routes at a location and design public hearing at 7 p.m. June 23 at Westminster High School, 1225 Washington Road.

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