Howard County officials will gauge support for closing a section of Hanover Road that links Howard and Anne Arundel counties at a community meeting tomorrow night.
Two years ago, officials delayed a study on that topic because a construction project was under way in the Harwood Park community, which would have affected traffic flow. That project, which involved a bridge on Loudon Avenue, is complete, along with other commercial and residential developments.
Under these conditions, William F. Malone Jr., chief of Howard County's traffic division, wants to know whether support exists for the study.
"After all this time," Malone said, "do you still want to go through with it?"
He'll pose the question to neighbors of the proposed project at the Greater Elkridge Community Association meeting tomorrow.
Some Howard residents support closing a section of Hanover Road between the counties to reduce speeding and noise associated with traffic, some of which includes trucks using the street to access nearby commercial parks. .
Others say such a move would compromise access of fire, police and other emergency personnel east and south of Elkridge in Howard County and deny drivers a valuable detour to destinations such as Baltimore-Washington International Airport and Arundel Mills.
Anne Arundel County officials said the closure would not affect police and fire response in the northwest section of their county that includes Hanover Road.
Coca-Cola Drive, which provides access from Route 100 near the Harwood Park community, would compensate for "local, commuter and emergency traffic," said Joseph W. Rutter, the Anne Arundel County planning director.
Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle said that her district, which abuts the area that includes Hanover Road, is receiving an additional paramedic unit, and that a new firehouse is being built in Severn. So even if potential fire assistance from Howard County were cut by Hanover Road's closure, she said, "My citizens are protected."
Officials with the Maryland Aviation Administration, which oversees BWI, will attend the meeting to measure public sentiment for the study, spokeswoman Tracy Newman said.
"We want to take into consideration what a road closure would do" for BWI patrons seeking access to the airport, Newman said.
Beidle said she learned of the meeting only last week, and won't be able to attend because of other engagements. No one representing Howard County "has ever been in contact with me on this matter," she added.
Malone of the Howard traffic division said that if the Hanover Road study goes forward, it would be broken into two phases. The first would focus on vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic around the railroad crossing that would be the site of the road closure. Officials also would try to determine whether the road is used mainly by local traffic or by motorists using it to access major roads, such as Route 100 and U.S. 1.
The second phase would involve observing traffic patterns during, and after, a temporary closing of Hanover.
Malone estimated that the study would take several months.
The Greater Elkridge Community Association will meet at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Norbel School, 6135 Old Washington Blvd., in Howard County.