Road by mall, hospital to open

Medical Parkway links Bestgate, Jennifer roads

Ribbon cutting set for today

Anne Arundel

January 06, 2003|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Starting today, motorists in the fast-growing Bestgate Road area will be able to zip from the road to Anne Arundel Medical Center and a U.S. 50 entrance ramp without navigating tangled traffic from a nearby mall.

The 650-foot road brings hope for reduced driving times and lower blood pressure in the area near the medical center's new complex and Westfield Shoppingtown Annapolis, also known as Annapolis Mall.

The new stretch of road between Bestgate and Jennifer roads is called Medical Parkway Phase II.

Until today, the drivable section of Medical Parkway ran from Bestgate Road south to one side of Cowhide Branch, a meandering stream. It also ran from Jennifer Road north to the other side of the stream.

At a ceremony this morning, County Executive Janet S. Owens is to snip the ribbon on the $5.6 million, four-lane blacktop link. (The cost works out to $8,615 a foot.)

According to county officials, it was no small project.

The 15-month effort required careful work adjacent to the stream, relocation of the existing streambed, trash removal, stream bank stabilization and minimizing impact on nearby wetlands.

The road, which will have a 35 mph speed limit, includes an adjacent paved bike path and a traffic light.

Owens calls the road a perfect example of business/government partnership.

Sturbridge Homes built the stretch of Medical Parkway from Bestgate Road to Cowhide Branch, county officials said. That section splits between two condominium complexes. AAMC, which opened its new complex 13 months ago at Jennifer Road and Medical Parkway, built the other end.

The county paid the $5.6 million to build the middle.

"It's going to help us get over to [U.S.] 50 and that side of town," said Gary Mack, 65, who lives in a condominium off the parkway.

The new road also will improve access to the hospital, including shorter routes for ambulances, hospital spokeswoman Mary Lou Baker said.

"It will make things more convenient for patients," Baker said. "It will also create more traffic."

But, she said, the traffic is an acceptable trade-off.

"It's just a byproduct of progress," she said.

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