Look, listen and hope Intersection: Where three rural roads meet near Glyndon, area residents say all drivers can do is cross their fingers as they pull out on a blind curve.

Intrepid Commuter

September 08, 1997

WAY UP IN God's Country -- north of Hunt Valley, that is -- the remote, winding roads are getting a lot of traffic these days.

One spot in particular, near Glyndon on Piney Grove Road, has motorists biting their nails each time they try to turn onto or cross Butler Road. There, a three-way intersection with Belmont Avenue, marked by a stately, historic church, often gets dicey.

"The corner there is so blind that the only thing you can do is turn off the radio, roll down the driver's window, drift out and listen very carefully for oncoming traffic," resident Holly Rich explained to Intrepid One.

Such driving tactics may work for Fred Flintstone, but not for most of us. Randall Scott, a traffic engineer for the State Highway Administration, which oversees Butler Road, has pledged to investigate.

"There may be something we can do to fix the problem quick and easy," Scott said. "Then we can adequately warn motorists."

A follow-up report is expected next week. Stay tuned.

Coal byproduct gives boost to bridge approach

That gray stuff you see under the northern approach to Key Bridge -- now under construction -- was once produced by the same process that generated electricity to run your microwave.

These days, Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is making and selling the gray dust that resembles talcum powder. It's called fly ash and is a byproduct of coal burned in BGE furnaces to generate electricity.

The company generates about 500,000 tons of ash each year and sells it for use as a soil filler or a replacement for cement and concrete, said Glenn Nilsen, a senior BGE engineer. Overall, it's cheaper than soil.

On the Key Bridge project, the Maryland Transportation Authority is paying $3.17 per cubic yard for the ash to use for fill needed to build up the highway approach to the bridge.

The ash will save the agency money -- Lori A. Vidil, spokeswoman for the transportation authority, estimated that to fill the area with soil would cost $3.40 per yard.

BWI international pier taking (geometric) shape

It looks as if giant pickup sticks are being used to build the new international pier at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

The $140 million face-lift started in April 1994 and is expected to be completed this fall, said Juliette Wright, BWI spokeswoman. Jet-setting commuters will find 52 ticket counters in the 360,000-square- foot terminal with six gates.

Architects STV Group and William Nicholas Bodouva and Associates have designed the pier as an open, airy space with geometric angles abounding from every wall on giant steel trusses. A pyramid-shaped skylight will top the entire building, and the ticket counters will be arranged in an inverted-V shape.

Financing for the terminal comes primarily from a $3 surcharge on ticket prices, Wright said.

MVA sets new hours for customer service center

For those having trouble reaching the Motor Vehicle Administration by telephone, bureaucrats there have announced new hours for the customer service center. Between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, commuters may call the MVA's hot line at 1-800-950-1MVA.

The center is in Cumberland and averages 6,000 calls per day.

Shortcuts

Months ago, Intrepid One highlighted a problem involving some bone-jarring potholes on the Jones Falls Expressway underneath the Howard Street bridge. At the time, city Department of Public Works bureaucrats promised to dispatch the pothole crews to the scene ASAP to smooth the craters. But alas, nothing has been done. In an attempt to halt such empty promises, DPW spokesman Kurt L. Kocher last week pledged once again that crews would be sent to the site by the end of this week. Let's see if City Hall can deliver on this one. Countering recent reports of how road rage is becoming the norm in our driving habits these days, Betty Kilker of Baltimore wrote to Intrepid to relay some good news: She allowed a car to merge in front of her vehicle recently at the Harbor Tunnel toll plaza. When she handed over the $1 toll seconds later, the collector waved Kilker through. To her delight -- and surprise -- the stranger had treated her to a free ride through the tube for her lane-change kindness. "Yes, there are some nice people left in the world!" she concluded. It is a good life after all.

Pub Date: 9/08/97

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