Final route of bypass takes shape Latest design changes for the 5.8-mile road said to reduce costs

$3 million savings seen

State officials next will begin buying land right of ways

August 25, 1996|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

State highway officials are close to mapping the final route of a long-awaited Hampstead bypass and say the latest design changes will reduce the project's cost by $3 million.

With alignment near completion, the State Highway Administration can determine with greater accuracy the portions properties along the proposed route that would be affected in the land-acquisition process.

"We know pretty much what we're building," said Ed Smith, the project's senior engineer. "Now we can start producing the right-of-way plats to determine what property we need to support the road."

By November, SHA real estate agents may begin contacting individual property owners affected by the proposed bypass route to discuss right-of-way issues, said Christian C. Larson, a highway administration district chief for real estate acquisitions.

"We'll set up face-to-face meetings to explain the construction, what portion of the property we need and how much we're willing to pay for it," Larson said.

SHA engineers met this month to review the most recent revisions to the Hampstead bypass, first proposed by town officials 20 years ago. Rapid growth has turned the town's once-quiet Main Street into a commuter-clogged thoroughfare.

"Today, the volumes of traffic are such that Main Street is not a friendly place for pedestrians," said Steven C. Horn, a senior Carroll County transportation planner. "The bypass has been the county's top priority for years, and it will remain the top priority until it's built."

The proposed 5.8-mile, limited access, two-lane bypass would swing west from Route 30 south of Hampstead near the Black & Decker Corp. distribution plant and loop around North Carroll RTC High School.

It would intersect Route 482 and continue north across industrially zoned land before turning east to Route 30 north of Greenmount.

The latest engineering changes include the replacement of two major intersections at Shiloh and Houcksville roads with bridges; a new location for the southern end of the bypass; and a reduction in the median section of the highway from 54 feet to 34 feet the entire length of the bypass.

Engineers said the design changes also may require the highway administration to condemn two homes on Route 30.

"For the welfare of the traveling public and the property owners, we thought it would be better if they were relocated," said Robert E. Riley, a bypass project engineer.

Smith said the adjustments would increase construction estimates from $18 million to $22 million, while lowering the projected land-acquisition price from $17 million to $10 million. The total cost of the project would be reduced from $35 million to $32 million.

"Anything that reduces the overall cost and makes this thing closer to reality, we're all for," said Hampstead Mayor Christopher M. Nevin.

State traffic engineers said the proposed bridges at Shiloh and Houcksville roads would eliminate two potentially dangerous intersections and allow more efficient movement of traffic.

"The road will function more as a bypass rather than a local road," Smith said. "We don't want it to look like Route 140 in Westminster."

Another engineering change involves the point at which the southern end of the bypass would tie in with Route 30. The connection has been moved north from the Wolf Hill development to a site adjacent to the Jos. A. Bank Clothier distribution center.

Riley said the new southern connection would allow better traffic circulation and easier access to Route 30.

The state has not budgeted construction money for the bypass but in January, Gov. Parris N. Glendening announced the allocation of $5 million to buy land.

Smith said the road's construction is contingent on major property owners along the proposed route donating their land for right-of-way use. Black & Decker and Carroll County General Hospital own 400 acres zoned for industrial use along the route.

State highway officials said the access provided by the bypass would increase property values by making the land more suitable for industrial development.

"We're looking for private-sector support for the project," Smith said. "Those who have the most to gain from this job should help fund the thing."

Pub Date: 8/25/96

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