Intersection called key to Warfield project put out to bid

Junction along Route 32 in Sykesville to ease traffic

April 03, 2005|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

A long-planned intersection at Route 32 in Sykesville has gone out to bid, the culmination of a decade of negotiations among the town, Carroll County and the State Highway Administration.

The project involves new construction, improvements to existing roadways and the removal of several road segments. The cost is estimated at $8.6 million, with funds coming from the state, the county and private business.

"This has been 10 years in the making," said Sykesville Mayor Jonathan S. Herman. "I don't think anybody can appreciate what a small town has to go through to build an intersection on a state highway. It is harder than rocket science."

The contract calls for construction of an intersection at Route 32 just north of Cooper Drive. The signalized crossing will ease traffic into the Warfield Complex, a cluster of one-time Springfield Hospital buildings that the town is renovating into a business and academic center.

The highway will be four lanes to allow safer turning and passing for a total of about a half-mile before and after the intersection.

Warfield's location, within six miles of Interstate 70, could draw much-needed industry to the county, officials said. Final plans for the intersection played a key role in helping the town secure the first tenants for Warfield, officials said.

"The intersection is what makes Warfield," said Jay French, a development consultant working with the town. "The work on Route 32 and the new surrounding roads will create a landmark that will put Warfield on the map. The crossing will make it incredibly easy for people to come and go, too."

The state will pay $5.74 million of the cost. Episcopal Ministries to the Aging, which oversees Fairhaven Retirement Community and owns property adjoining Warfield, is contributing $1.54 million, and Carroll County has pledged the remaining costs.

The project also involves realigning several town roads, building a roundabout on the Warfield property, creating a new entrance to the Northrop-Grumman plant that adjoins the Warfield property and adding a park-and-ride.

The contractor will remove portions of the Springfield Avenue, Third Avenue and Cooper Drive connections to the highway.

The work includes all aspects of road construction as well as wetlands mitigation, utility adjustments, landscaping and reforestation.

Herman presented the Town Council with a 110-page, oversized book of maps, graphs and contractor specifications at its meeting last week.

"I am confident that we have done everything we can do," Herman said. "We have jumped through all the hoops, secured the easements and dealt with the environmental issues."

The town is advertising in area newspapers and trade journals. Contractors will have 60 days to submit bids on the project. The town has scheduled a pre-bid conference April 21.

Construction could begin by early fall, officials said.

Plans and bid booklets are available at the Town House, 7547 Main St. Information: 410-795-6390.

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