Highway officials plan Sykesville traffic signal Light would be installed at Route 32 intersection

September 05, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

State Highway Administration officials said yesterday they will install a temporary traffic signal at Route 32 and Springfield Avenue to ease one of the most congested and dangerous intersections in Sykesville.

Results of a 13-hour traffic count in June prompted the decision, said George Miller, a state traffic engineer.

"The extent of the delay experienced and the volume made us decide to go ahead with a signal to provide relief for side-street traffic," Miller said.

From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 18, he said, 16,216 vehicles used the intersection. Rapid development in and around the town of 3,000 will increase the need for a signal, Miller said.

"I would caution that the signal won't jump every time a car approaches," he said. "It will operate initially during peak hours and the timing will heavily favor Route 32."

The signal, estimated to cost $80,000, is in the design stage. It probably will be next summer before it is operating. Miller said the signal is a temporary solution to increasing problems motorists have accessing Route 32 from four town crossings. Only the Sandosky Road intersection has a light.

Two improvements have been much debated, but no decision on extending Third Avenue to the highway or realigning Obrecht Road around the north end of Fairhaven Retirement Community has been reached.

"The light will be used only until Third Avenue or Obrecht Road is decided," Miller said.

Once one of those roads is built, the Springfield intersection would be closed. And, if either road is under construction next year, the signal at Springfield will not be installed, Miller said.

The state, the county, Sykesville and Fairhaven, which is on Third Avenue, have debated which road to build. In the most recent development, state Treasurer Richard N. Dixon called for extending Third Avenue.

Fairhaven offered to contribute $200,000 to the estimated $800,000 cost of improving Third Avenue. The state would pay $400,000 to improve one intersection on Route 32. The county, which favors the Obrecht Road realignment, will not pay for any improvements to the town-owned road.

The highway administration has been reluctant to add signals along Route 32 to Eldersburg, which is expected to be a four-lane highway in the next decade.

Miller will contact residents, who have been vocal about the need for a signal.

"But, I will be telling them that this is only temporary," he said.

Vince DiPietro, a Clark Drive resident who uses the intersection on his daily commute, said a signal would make his drive safer but will attract more motorists.

"Every vehicle who travels Obrecht Road from Route 97 to Sykesville will be charging to that intersection once it has a light," he said. "It might open Fairhaven's eyes and make them realize how much Obrecht Road is needed."

Fairhaven has refused to grant easements that would allow construction of Obrecht to Route 32. DiPietro said he may organize a picket line at Fairhaven.

"Fairhaven is a developer holding the county and all the residents here hostage," he said.

Pub Date: 9/05/96

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