Relieving congestion in Parole

Budget wrap: Anne Arundel council must approve long-overdue solution to Admiral Cochrane Drive.

May 27, 1999

PLANNERS IN Anne Arundel County have sought a fix for the ill-designed intersection at Riva Road and Admiral Cochrane Drive for 36 years -- an impressive delay even by the notoriously languid standards of bureaucracies.

Planners knew in 1963 Admiral Cochrane Drive presented a problem even before it was built. It is a cul-de-sac -- one way in, one way out -- for an area that has grown to serve 3,000 employees, including the expanding defense contractor ARINC. Drivers wait minutes to pass through the intersection, which rates as failing.

A plan backed by County Executive Janet S. Owens would extend Admiral Cochrane Drive to Route 2, giving commuters an alternative in and out of the busy center. The County Council must vote tonight, the deadline for approving the capital budget. It includes $1.8 million toward the $6.7 million project.

Unfortunately, Annapolis-area Councilwoman Barbara D. Samorajczyk belatedly cast undue suspicion on the plan, speculating it was altered to help a developer build a mixed-use center of homes and offices. Ms. Owens denied developer influence. The county realigned the extension to soften curves.

The County Council approved nearly half the cost for the extension in prior budgets. If it fails to finish the job, commuters will face longer delays, and companies will have to reconsider expansions that would bring jobs to the area.

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