2 busy intersections on Rt. 140 targeted Finksburg residents call them unsafe

remedies proposed

September 02, 1997|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

State and county officials are proposing remedies to improve safety and relieve congestion at two intersections along a busy stretch of Route 140 that runs through Finksburg.

Donald Hoffman, vice president of the newly formed Finksburg Planning Area Council, told residents at a meeting last week that two options are being considered for the intersection at routes 140 and Route 91. The intersection, and one at Route 140 and Dede Road, have been called particularly dangerous by Finksburg residents.

Hoffman, who has met with state traffic planners, described the options for the Route 91 intersection:

A "classic cloverleaf" construction, which would require the destruction of existing businesses and the purchase of a significant amount of land. The estimated cost is $40 million.

A "dispersed movement interchange," which Hoffman said is favored by county officials. The plan, which would cost $2 million, would involve construction of additional lanes to eliminate left turns at the intersection.

"The intersections at Sandymount, Green Mill and Route 91 aren't nightmarish yet, but they're difficult to get through," Hoffman told about 70 Finksburg residents at the meeting.

He said Route 140 -- with 40,000 trips daily through the Finksburg portion -- has a higher traffic volume than the section of Interstate 70 in south Carroll County, which has a traffic volume of 30,000 daily trips.

"How do we structure our wish list of improvements for Route 140?" asked Hoffman, who has met with state and county traffic planners in his role as chairman of the traffic and public safety committee of the Finksburg Planning Area Council.

A proposed improvement to the Route 140 and Dede Road intersection calls for the construction of a U-shaped service road, which would begin at Dede Road and loop around until it connects with Route 140 eastbound. The project was originally included in the county's 1981 master plan.

Hoffman said state traffic planners are looking at building a median strip on Route 140, which would extend eastbound from Route 91 to the Liberty Reservoir bridge. He described this project as a "very viable consideration."

The unknown factor in any discussions about improvements to Route 140 is the future of industrial development in the area. Finksburg residents are awaiting the results of a study, sought by the County Commissioners, to explore the economic development potential of a 530-acre site at Bethel Road.

A year ago, the Economic Development Commission and the Industrial Development Authority, which markets industrial property for the county, identified the property as suitable for commercial development.

"We don't know what's going to happen to that 530 acres at Bethel Road," Hoffman said.

Hoffman said his committee plans to work with planning officials to ensure that the county's new master plan reflects the opinions of Finksburg residents. The Finksburg group was organized in June to monitor development and zoning issues in Finksburg and serve as a liaison between residents of the unincorporated area and state and county officials.

One of the major concerns of residents is speeding on Route 140 and what they see as inadequate police presence there.

"It is a serious problem," said resident Joe Walsh. "If you attempt to do 55 [mph], someone will try to to go over the top of your car."

One woman said making a trip to the Finksburg post office turns her into a "nervous wreck" because she has to make a left turn across Route 140.

"Cars are coming at you 70 mph," she said.

Hoffman said he would raise the issues with state and county traffic planners.

Pub Date: 9/02/97

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