The county moved closer to improving what could be a major connector road in South Carroll yesterday with the purchase of more than 5 acres along Obrecht Road for $27,791.
Obrecht Road runs parallel to Route 26 and could ease traffic on that heavily traveled state highway once improvements are complete. The additional land will allow the county to begin the first phase of widening from Route 97 to White Rock Road.
"Obrecht could be a major east-west connector between Routes 97 and 32, south of Route 26," said Frank Schaeffer, deputy director of Carroll's Department of Public Works. "The road exists now but with bad conditions, curves and sight-distance problems."
The county commissioners voted unanimously to buy 4 acres and to acquire a 1.3-acre easement on land that is part of the Clas family farm.
"This is the biggest acquisition so far," Schaeffer said.
The commissioners previously acquired nearly 4 acres from Ed Primoff, an unsuccessful county commissioner candidate who owns more than 200 acres along Route 97 and Obrecht Road. No money was exchanged for that land in lieu of future development considerations.
The county is negotiating to acquire a few smaller easements before putting phase one of the project out to bid in the spring. The work could take about nine months and cost about $1.2 million.
The county also plans two more phases before the project is complete. The second phase would involve the segment between White Rock and Gaither roads. The final and most problematic phase because of land issues will be the remaining section to Route 32.
"The other end is a lot more complicated, but at least if we start this project now, it will move forward," Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge said.