Getting on priority list for bypass pleases city

Taneytown has long sought road

October 02, 2005|By SHERIDAN LYONS | SHERIDAN LYONS,SUN REPORTER

Taneytown officials say they were pleased to learn that Carroll County officials have put a long-planned town bypass back on the priority list for state road projects.

"That's an appropriate reaction," said Steven C. Horn, county director of planning, noting that the priority list is the first step in a long process. "It's been part of the county's wish list for over 20 years."

"We're back on the list," said Mayor W. Robert Flickinger. "We call it an `extension.' Don't say `bypass.'"

Nancy B. McCormick, Taneytown's director of economic development, said she calls it "an accessor or connector, not a bypass. ... Bypass is a dirty word in Annapolis."

Whatever it's called, the three-plus miles of road would divert traffic west of downtown, Horn said. The first leg exists: Antrim Boulevard, which extends off the traffic circle on Route 140, southeast of town, and ends at Trevanion Road.

The proposed route would continue Antrim Boulevard across Trevanion Road and curve north, crossing Francis Scott Key Highway (Route 194) before connecting back to Route 140 northwest of town, he said.

"It creates economic development opportunities," Horn said, because it would give road access to industrially zoned land and relief for congestion on Baltimore Street, Taneytown's main road.

"It would provide an opportunity for heavier truck traffic to avoid main street and the historic properties that front on Baltimore Street," he said, noting that Taneytown has a downtown beautification project under way.

McCormick said having traffic bypass downtown wouldn't hurt merchants but would open access to potential industrial sites.

"This is a good thing," McCormick said, and the city wants to help. "The state is kind of looking at things that are a little new, partnerships with counties [or] a developer who is affected by the connector or bypass - or whatever you call it."

Flickinger said, "If we could get the people to donate the land, we could keep the price down. One man said he would donate, because he'd get more for his property" with the road access.

McCormick said the town has some of the largest industrial property that is undeveloped in the county.

"This access road would open that up, this land that is now landlocked," she said, but cautioned that "making the list is a first step, then that list goes to the state. There has not even been any planning."

In 2004, the State Highway Administration counted 5.2 cars per minute in the city square in a 12-hour period, she said. Traffic through Taneytown is likely to increase if proposed casinos open in Gettysburg, Pa.

"You know what that's going to do to our traffic: up through Westminster, on 194, from Emmitsburg," she said.

The current $3.2 million street renovation project will add left turn lanes at all four roads in the square, she said. The project runs from the traffic circle on Route 140 to a little past Memorial Park and encompasses improvements for a short stretch of Frederick and York streets, she said. It also includes sidewalks, road resurfacing, street lights and "curb extensions" to narrow lanes, calming traffic.

As for a bypass, Horn said, there are no cost estimates. He said the commissioners were "only looking for planning recognition - the first step" - in the annual priority letter sent to the secretary of transportation."Putting it on the priority list makes it eligible for funding in the future."

sherry.lyons@baltsun.com

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