Crofton group critical of Route 3 widening Residents say state didn't consult them when project was planned

August 07, 1996|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

Crofton Civic Association members say they have been shut out of state plans to widen Route 3, a project they believe will significantly change the character of their community.

The $1.4 million project will add a lane in each direction between Crawford Boulevard and Route 450 East. But, over the objection of board members of the civic association, it will not include curbs and gutters, and most, if not all, of the trees and bushes in the median will be cut down.

In a meeting with State Highway Administration officials Monday night, board members and residents vented their frustration with the design of the project.

"All of a sudden, we're presented with something for this very central part of our community that is beyond discussion, something that will change the character of this roadway," said board member Laurie Torene. "We feel like we are out of control of any input. And what will be next?"

She and other board members fear that widening Route 3 will contribute to the highway appearance of the road, an effect they want to prevent.

The community should have been informed and consulted a year ago, according to SHA District Engineer Paul Armstrong, who took over the position in February. "SHA definitely dropped the ball on this project," Armstrong said. "As a rule, we always go out to the community."

Board members were only slightly appeased by Armstrong's offer to meet with them and representatives of Reliable Contracting Co., the contractor, on Friday to look at each tree in the median at the southern end of the project to see if any can be saved. "If we can find some trees that are salvageable that we can hope to save, we will do it," Armstrong said. "To be honest and up front with you, I don't see that we're going to save a whole lot of the trees."

Trees and shrubs in the median of Route 3 in the Crofton area were planted by the SHA in the early 1970s after a fund-raising project by the Crofton Village Garden Club.

Residents of Crofton and Bowie will be allowed to help plan landscaping along the roadway over the next several months, but the plantings would not begin until fall 1997, when the widening is complete, Armstrong said.

But board member Brenda Reiber was not pleased. "It's already done, you guys are going to do what you're going to do," she said to Armstrong. "We want to maintain a certain character to our community and you are not allowing us to do that."

Pub Date: 8/07/96

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