State officials hear wish list on roads

Route 32 is county's top concern


With the county's No. 1 road project finally under way in Hampstead, Carroll County officials have moved to other concerns on their yearly transportation priority list.

When Robert L. Flanagan, Maryland's secretary of transportation, visited the county last week, the county commissioners and Carroll's delegation to the General Assembly, led by Republican Sen. Larry E. Haines, gave Flanagan their priorities for 2005-2006.

Flanagan also outlined some of the projects in the state's six-year Consolidated Transportation Program for 2006-2011, with an emphasis upon relieving congestion and improving safety.

Carroll will receive about $183 million in transportation funds, of about $13 billion for projects.

"It is a cautionary moment," Flanagan said, because the transportation trust fund appears to be headed for lower-than-projected revenue from the gasoline tax and the excise tax on the sale of vehicles.

With construction scheduled to begin this spring on the $85.2 million, 5.8-mile Hampstead bypass, Carroll's next priority is the reconstruction of Route 32 in South Carroll between Route 26 and Macbeth Way. The county commissioners had voted to contribute $2.5 million to the project, to try to speed it along.

Other projects mentioned by Flanagan and Neil J. Pedersen, state highway administrator, included:

Main Street projects in New Windsor, slated for next spring, and in Taneytown in early 2007.

The expected completion this month of the widening and rebuilding of two bridges on Route 140 in Westminster, at Routes 97 and 27, begun in August 2003 at a cost of $15.9 million.

Replacement of the Route 194 bridge over Big Pipe Creek, near Taneytown, a $3 million project that could be completed by December.

Development studies for improvements to intersections along 2.46 miles of Route 140 through Westminster, from Market Street to Sullivan Road, at crossroads such as Center Street and Englar Road. Under consideration are continuous-flow intersections, a concept pioneered in Mexico, Pedersen said.

Studies for improved access along 2.55 miles of Liberty Road (Route 26) between Liberty Reservoir and Route 32, also with pedestrian and bicycle accommodation, in the $40 million range.

Spot improvements planned or under way include turn lanes for Liberty Road and Klee Mill Road; Manchester Road at the Route 140 ramps; Route 30 at Cape Horn Road; Littlestown Pike at Stone Road; Route 140 at Sandymount Road, and the widening of Ridge Road at Twin Arch Road in Mount Airy.

Resurfacing and other improvement to Interstate 70 west of the Howard County line to Route 97, including median barriers.

The extension of High Street in New Windsor to Route 75.

Planning for a bypass west of Taneytown.

Also on the priority list is project planning - the first step - for a bypass of Manchester that would connect in a backward S to the Hampstead bypass (formally titled Md. Route 30 Relocated).

The county is pursuing the sale of a parcel that would be needed if a Manchester bypass were to be built. That parcel has been proposed for development of a professional building, said Steven C. Horn, Carroll's planning director.

Haines supports a Manchester bypass and believes the relocated Route 30 should someday run north from Interstate 795 to Pennsylvania, he said.

"We need help," said Manchester police Chief Charles L. Lewis Jr. The 16,000 to 19,000 vehicles traveling north through the town of 4,200 won't be eased into town but eventually dumped there from the new Hampstead bypass, he said. "Now would be a feasible time."

Flanagan said the state is not opposed to bypasses, but they can present "a whole bunch of challenges."

As for a Westminster bypass, which was taken off the county's priority list, Flanagan said county and state highway planners must determine "a common set of facts" before embarking again upon the issue.

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