Union Bridge residents concerned about proposed road

March 01, 2001|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Traffic safety and truck noise topped the concerns of a group of residents who live opposite the site of a proposed Carroll County road on the outskirts of Union Bridge that is intended to get heavy cement trucks off the town's Main Street.

Because of their concerns and because the projected number of trucks has doubled since 1999, Robert L. Fisher, the State Highway Administration engineer for District 7 in Frederick, said yesterday the state would require a traffic analysis before allowing the new Shepherd's Mill Road to connect to Route 75.

The road would be built to intersect Ladiesburg Road bridge where it crosses Little Pipe Creek and connects with Route 75. It would run 6,500 feet from Quaker Hill Road - where Lehigh Portland Cement Co. is installing a kiln to double its output - and connect to Green Valley Road (Route 75) at Ladiesburg Road bridge.

"They had projected 105 trucks total would be using our intersection, but the figures I was hearing last night are double that - and that came as a shock to us," Fisher said. SHA "by statute has the right to say, `You can't change the intersection.'"

Six people who live along Stem and Hoff roads across Route 75 from the Ladiesburg Road bridge voiced concerns at a public hearing Tuesday night. More than 70 people attended the meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission at the Union Bridge firehouse.

Earlier in the evening, during an informational meeting with the Carroll commissioners and staff, and representatives of state agencies, Lehigh and Maryland Midland Railway, residents suggested adding improved turning and access lanes, traffic signals, weight-limit or no-trucks signs.

"This intersection is a major new intersection," said Julian Stein of the 200 block of Hoff Road. "To say you're not thinking about what happens when these two roads meet, ... I just don't think that's responsible."

Craig Schneider of the 200 block of Stem Road wrote in a letter about "the idyllic setting" he found 15 years ago, saying: "I am still transfixed by the view of the rolling farmland before us and am equally fascinated by the sounds of the many songbirds which come to our feeders. I must even admit to enjoying the sounds of the occasional Maryland Midland freight train as it signals its approach."

The sounds of passing traffic and an occasional noisy truck are acceptable, but not 200-plus tractor-trailers a day, he said in the letter, read by neighbor Judith M. Smith.

But Kevin Bennett of the 300 block of E. Locust St. said, "Don't wait for somebody to be killed. Get that road built, and get those trucks out of town."

After the meeting, Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr. said, "I think it went very well. I thought some of the concerns were good ones."

Jones spoke to remind residents of the 10-year effort to get rid of the trucks that pass within feet of downtown buildings. Steven C. Horn, Carroll's planning director, said the planning commission would accept written comments until March 9. He said he didn't foresee changes in the plan that would require a public hearing.

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