Carroll planner seeks state-county task force on Routes 26, 32 again County Commissioners fail to attend meeting they initially had sought

September 30, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

A Carroll County planning official again urged the state and the county last night to create a task force to take a long-range look at highway needs in the Route 26-Route 32 corridor in South Carroll.

"Route 26 toward Frederick is a main street community," Steve ** Horn, chief of the county Bureau of Planning, told a sparse crowd of about a dozen residents last night at Liberty High School.

"We need to look at what kind of landscaping is appropriate, what kind of highway standards we want, what kind of access controls we want," Horn said. "We don't have a lot of options for traffic to get around. We need to think long term. We need to

think about things like street lighting and pedestrian access.

Horn asked State Highway Administration Planning Director Neil Pedersen to give the audience "a refresher regarding the state's plans for Route 32."

The state is looking to widen Route 32 in Howard County to four lanes from Route 108 to Interstate 70, Pedersen said.

Carroll and Howard asked the state to look at Route 32 north of I-70 at the same time, but there were "separate issues involved that necessitated a separate study," Pedersen said.

Mary Deitz, a regional planner with the highway administration, said the question asked in a feasibility study of Route 32 north of I-70 was "whether a divided highway could fit in the corridor. The answer is yes," she said.

The study analyzed every intersection along the route, she said, and planners came up with a serv- ice-road concept that would eliminate driveways onto Route 32.

The state would have to acquire about 15 acres of rights of way, mainly on the Springfield Hospital Center property, to realign a curve so traffic could move safely at 60 mph, she said.

The goal would be to bring the road up to an acceptable standard by 2020.

Pedersen said the next step would be to move from a feasibility study to project planning. However, no money has been budgeted for such planning.

The process from project planning to construction takes about six to eight years -- two to three years for planning, two to three years for engineering and two years for construction, Pedersen said.

The "very rough" cost estimate of improvements to Routes 32 and 26 would be $60 million to $70 million, Deitz said.

The meeting last night had been billed as a dialogue between state highway officials and the County Commissioners about the "revitalization of the Maryland Route 26 and 32 corridors."

But the commissioners -- who had asked for the meeting -- did not attend.

Pub Date: 9/30/98

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