New road opens to offer trucks alternative route

Union Bridge hopes move diverts Main Street traffic

April 26, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The lines have been painted and weight-restriction signs removed, signaling the opening of a long-awaited road at the edge of Union Bridge that officials hope will divert heavy cement-truck traffic from the small town's Main Street.

Years in the planning, the new Shepherds Mill Road has been completed for several weeks, officials said. But the painting was delayed by the weather, so the state limited traffic to 3/4 -ton trucks and less - basically pickup trucks and cars.

"It is open to all traffic," said Franklin G. Schaeffer, Carroll County's deputy director of public works.

"It's a wonderful thing," said Union Bridge Mayor Bret D. Grossnickle. "I'm happy. ... We've been waiting and waiting for that."

The new 1 1/4 -mile road should draw "at least half" of the tanker trucks from Lehigh Portland Cement Co. heading south and east to Baltimore, the mayor said. "And that would be a tremendous load off our streets."

"It's been on the master plan for I don't know how long," Schaeffer said, with design work dating to about 1996.

Shepherds Mill Road intersects with Ladiesburg Road and crosses Little Pipe Creek. The road connects Quaker Hill Road to Route 75 east of town

Union Bridge, a town of about 1,000 residents, is in the middle of a Main Street revitalization project, Grossnickle said.

The road was part of a $5.5 million project funded primarily by the state. The next part of the project will be to complete a rail spur to get Maryland Midland Railway trains out of downtown. The project probably will take another year or more, Grossnickle said.

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