Alternatives to bypass suggested

August 14, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

A tunnel, an elevated expressway, jug-handle turns and loops, underpasses or overpasses could replace a proposed Route 140 bypass around Westminster, a citizens group suggests.

An organization that was formed to oppose the proposed bypass is scheduled to discuss its ideas with State Highway Administration officials at a public meeting at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 at the SHA maintenance building, 150 Wyndtryst Drive, Westminster.

Members of Carroll Life came up with their ideas from roads they have seen in other places, said Kenneth E. Davidson, president of the organization and owner of a house in the path of one bypass route being considered by the SHA.

The group's suggestions for Route 140 include:

* A two-level road through Westminster, using tunnels or trenches for the lower level.

* A two-level elevated expressway.

* Widening the existing road and adding underpasses or overpasses at all intersections. This is similar to an SHA alternative plan to widen sections of Route 140 to three lanes, although the SHA proposed additional turn lanes at intersections or bans on crossovers rather than overpasses or underpasses.

* Loops, circles or jug-handle connections to limit all intersections to turns in one direction only.

* Special-purpose lanes including two-directional, high-occupancy vehicle and mass transit lanes or rail lines.

* New feeder or access roads to Route 140.

* Computerized controls for any traffic signals that are still needed after improvements are made.

Michael A. Perrotta, an SHA project engineer, said, "Tunnels are not practical," but added that SHA will study some of the other proposals.

Mr. Davidson said Carroll Life doesn't consider congestion on Route 140 bad enough to justify any road program. "If you put in sequenced traffic lights, you could solve all the problems now," he said.

He said he can drive from his home on Lucabaugh Mill Road to his job at the Social Security Administration in Woodlawn in 30 minutes.

Carroll Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Democrat, agrees with the bypass opponents.

"I drive up and down that road every day and have for 25 1/2 years," he said. "In my opinion, there is not a need for the bypass."

Mr. Dixon said it takes him an average of 50 minutes to drive from his home southwest of Westminster to his job with a brokerage on South Charles Street in Baltimore.

Mr. Dixon, who serves on the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee's transportation subcommittee, said he hopes to use his position to block financing for a Westminster bypass.

A letter from Carroll Life to the SHA challenges the agency's cost estimates for the proposed bypass routes. The SHA estimates the cost of two possible northern routes at $220 million to $230 million each and a southern route at $230 million to $250 million. Carroll Life estimates the cost at more than $400 million for any of the three.

Mr. Perrotta said the SHA uses a computer program to project road construction costs. "It's pretty accurate," he said.

Mr. Davidson said the Carroll Life estimate came from a neighbor of a member who is familiar with road cost estimates. He said the neighbor projected a higher cost than the SHA primarily on the basis of bridge costs.

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