Traffic rises 109 percent on Route 140 Change over decade is the highest of any highway in Md.

'Some room for growth'

County officials say Westminster bypass would ease congestion

August 20, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

During the past decade, traffic along Route 140 into Carroll County has increased 109 percent, the highest among Maryland highways.

A new traffic study shows the volume of cars and trucks on Route 140 at the Baltimore County/Carroll County line has more than doubled since 1985. An average 42,339 vehicles a day travel Route 140 to and from Carroll County, compared to 20,279 in 1985.

"It correlates to traffic volume on [Interstate] 70, and it is the largest increase anywhere in the entire state," said Chris Letnaunchyn, a Carroll County transportation planner. "There are more cars and more congestion on Route 140."

Transportation planners use the annual Maryland Highway Traffic Trends, published by the State Highway Administration, as a tool "to plan other roads or to divert traffic, if needed," he said.

County officials said the study underscores the need for the long-sought Westminster bypass. More than half of the county's 72,000-person work force travels outside Carroll for employment.

Neither the state nor the county, however, has the money for a bypass.

"A recommendation for a bypass study has gone through nearly all the steps," said Roger Jorss, a SHA senior traffic forecaster. "The only thing we can do now is plan; we have no money. If we don't do anything, you are looking at a situation like Rockville Pike, which has 60,000 vehicles a day."

The traffic counter along Route 140, south of the Patapsco River, posted the highest percentage increase of the 67 traffic counters throughout the state. Although daily numbers are higher on other highways, nowhere are the 10-year percentages higher than those for Route 140.

For example, daily counts are slightly higher along Interstate 70 east of Frederick, but the volume of traffic there increased by 54 percent to 43,137 vehicles a day.

Route 140 is handling a larger volume of traffic "than some interstates and without their limited access and off ramps," Letnaunchyn said.

Highway officials predicted traffic along Route 140 soon could surpass 50,000 vehicles a day, but noted that even that number was manageable for the four-lane highway.

"Traffic on 140 rarely reaches complete gridlock," said John Concannon, acting assistant district engineer for traffic in Carroll, Frederick and Howard counties. "There is still some room for growth."

The SHA plans interim improvements to help maintain traffic flow.

This summer, crews are resurfacing and patching Route 140, from Route 91 to Route 31.

"Everything is being done so that when we do add lanes, we don't have to tear up what we have already done," said Jorss.

County Commissioner Richard T. Yates said the study may change the minds of those who have been opposed to a Route 140 bypass.

"It should raise more interest in improving 140 or building an acceptable bypass," he said.

Commissioner Donald I. Dell said the numbers are unlikely to deter opposition.

He continues to favor building an interstate for Carroll County, a measure he claimed would be less costly than constant upgrades to 140.

"We didn't need a counter to tell us traffic has increased," said Dell, who attributed a portion of the growth to the opening of Interstate 795 in 1986.

"It does show us that we need to upgrade our road system and keep it well maintained," he said.

Jorss agreed that the opening of I-795 may have skewed the count.

"Before 795, everything was basically choked off and nothing grew for years," he said.

Dell wondered how many trucks and Pennsylvania drivers contributed to the count -- both numbers are unavailable -- and how the increase has affected the State Highway Administration rating for Route 140.

Carroll County roads projects

The Carroll County Bureau of Roads Operations will be working on roads through Aug. 30.

Deep milling and patching:

Rolling View Drive from Route 27 to Old Westminster Road.

Nottingham Road from south of Route 32 to the end.

Wilda Drive from Nottingham Road to Route 32.

Pine Circle from Wilda Drive to the end.

High Ridge Drive from Wilda Drive to the end.

Canterbury Drive and Canterbury Court from London Bridge Road to the end.

King Arthur Court from end to end.


Stoner Avenue from Route 32 to Poole Road.

Northern Landfill recycling area.

Gladmar Court from Lawndale Road to the end.


Wildorlyn Drive from Route 140 to the end.

Wine Road from Route 496 to the gravel section.

Barnhart Road from Geeting Road to Old Hanover Road.

Tank Road from Wesley Road to Lawndale Road.

Brown Road from Old Westminster Pike to Lawndale Road.

Old New Windsor Road from the New Windsor town line to Route 31.

Bell Road from Uniontown Road to Adams Mill Road.

Jim Kohler Road from Mineral Hill Road to the end.

Rockland Road from Uniontown Road to Adams Mill Road.

Arters Mill Road from Mayberry Road to Blacks Schoolhouse Road.

Information: 848-6717.

Pub Date: 8/20/96

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