Extension of light rail could cost $41 million Eighth Ave. route carries highest estimate of four

August 07, 1996|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

Extending light rail south from Cromwell Station to Glen Burnie's downtown along Eighth Avenue would cost plenty -- about $41 million.

That's the preliminary estimate from the state Mass Transit Administration.

And it's also the path the Glen Burnie Improvement Association officers and board of directors last month unanimously called "the only acceptable route." The 900-member association will vote on the recommendation Tuesday.

Four routes are under consideration, in addition to a no-build option.

Eighth Avenue, which also is the longest route, would run from the current terminus at Cromwell Station near Dorsey Road across Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard to Eighth Avenue, then follow Eighth Avenue across Crain Highway to a stop near the Glen Burnie Town Center. The route would run about two miles.

All of the other options involve building a bridge over Dorsey Road. One route would extend south from Cromwell Station and use bridges to cross Dorsey Road and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard. It would run south to Georgia Avenue and cross Crain Highway to Ritchie Highway. Preliminary cost for this route is about $30 million, said MTA project manager Tony Brown.

The other two options would take similar paths. The shortest route would extend about three-quarters of a mile from Cromwell to town, following the Baltimore-Annapolis Trail from Dorsey Road to Crain Highway. Preliminary cost for this route is about $20 million, Brown said. The other route would follow the trail but stop near the Glen Burnie Carnival grounds. Preliminary cost for this route is about $22 million, Brown said.

"A lot of people are just trying to figure out the best thing to do, and it's hard. It's a very tricky thing to do," said Muriel Carter, former president of the association and a board member.

The recommendation by the GBIA leadership was based on information gathered over the past six months by the association's light rail committee, which issued no opinion, said Tony Chiavacci, chairman of the committee.

Glen Burnie resident have expressed concerns about safety and security, the feasibility of extending light rail and its impact on the popular hiker-biker trail.

Some residents say the association should not render an opinion until the MTA completes a study, due next month, that will examine community, engineering and environmental issues along with potential locations for a walk-up station, expected ridership and cost.

"I think light rail is something that is a great advantage, and I think it's premature to focus on this route or nothing," said Charles Crawford, a Glen Burnie resident for 18 years.

"I think the community should decide to support light rail to see what the MTA comes back with."

In a position paper, association leaders favored the route because it would pass only a handful of homes and leave older neighborhoods, the carnival grounds and the hiker-biker trail alone.

Joseph Corcoran, president of the association, said the leaders' opinion is not premature and "it can be changed at any time."

"I think in years to come if light rail doesn't come through Glen Burnie, the town will wither on the vine," he said.

Alfred Lipin, chairman of the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce light rail committee, said the chamber favors light rail. But it won't support a particular route until after it reviews the MTA study, he said.

The MTA will hold public hearings after the study is completed.

It could take at least five years to move from the study phase to finishing the project, and no state or federal money has been designated for construction, said MTA officials.

Pub Date: 8/07/96

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