Extension of I-795 explored

August 29, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

County commissioners have ordered a staff study of a proposed extension of Interstate 795 and other ways to reduce traffic congestion, although one commissioner says the study was never discussed and another cannot recall approving it.

"Attached is a recommendation from the Economic Development Commission to initiate a study to extend I-795 into Carroll County to address traffic congestion issues. . . . We, as a board, concur that a study should be done," Commissioner Donald I. Dell said in an Aug. 12 memo to Planning Director Edmund R. Cueman.

The memo directed the planning staff to "consider a number of alternatives that may be available to address that concern."

Commissioner Julia W. Gouge said she recalled meeting with Economic Development Commission (EDC) representatives. But, she said, "We never discussed a study. "

Commissioner Gouge said she could not understand the EDC's support for extending I-795.

"Why anyone in business would be promoting a road that the State Highway Administration says is never going to be [built], that they have no idea of the good wetlands and farmlands it would go through, is beyond me," she said.

She said Mr. Dell has been "absolutely adamant that no study be done on any other road."

Commissioner Elmer C. Lippy said he had endorsed adding the I-795 extension to the county master plan to keep the proposal alive. But "I don't remember giving assent to this [study]," he said.

Mr. Dell said the memo stemmed from a July meeting among the commissioners and Westminster businessman Glenn Bair, head of the EDC's transportation committee. He said notes by Robert "Max" Bair, the commissioners' executive assistant, show all commissioners present.

"I wouldn't do anything like that by myself," Mr. Dell said. "I don't just have Max dictate memos and I sign them and nobody else sees them."

Adding the interstate highway to the comprehensive plan would require studies costing about $20,750 a mile, said Steven C. Horn, county transportation planner.

Mr. Horn based his estimate on the 1990 cost of location-alignment and supporting engineering studies to add the proposed Manchester bypass to the county master plan.

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