Gorman Road intersection OK'd by public works board Revised construction plan gains residents' support

June 12, 1996|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

With support from residents, members of the Howard County Board of Public Works approved last night construction plans for a new intersection on Gorman Road, ending a public relations disaster that resulted from officials' beginning the project without informing citizens.

The plans approved last night call for a smaller intersection that will preserve more of the character of Gorman Road, one of the county's 60 designated scenic routes. Some portions of the intersection will be reduced by as much as 150 feet.

Also, several hundred feet of vegetation lost when work crews began the project this spring without the board's approval will be restored. Public works officials said the vegetation had to be cleared under the original plans, which called for a temporary road for construction workers building the permanent access road.

"I think the county [officials are] doing what they needed to do after they didn't do what they were supposed to do," said Greg Fries, who lives along Gorman Road.

"We were pretty upset about what had happened."

Last month, public works officials apologized for failing to inform the public about plans for the intersection, which will provide access to middle and elementary schools that are under construction off Gorman Road.

Development along designated scenic routes is controlled by regulations that went into effect in September 1994.

Before changes to such roads are made, the public is supposed to be informed of the plans. That didn't happen for the new Gorman Road intersection.

Public works officials said no other such moves would be made without the public's knowledge. "We hope to meet with the community" to discuss other plans, said Ronald Lepson, chief of the county's Bureau of Engineering.

Officials expect to start work June 19, the end of the school year, on the plans approved last night.

As part of the project, workers will close Gorman Road for about a week at the school construction site just west of Interstate 95 "Although this is not truly what we would like to see, it's better than what was previously proposed," said Robert Phillips, a Gorman Road resident for 29 years.

"I would like to see all this stay rural forever, but I know it's not going to."

Pub Date: 6/12/96

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