County officials will be at a public meeting in the Hillcrest Elementary School cafeteria on Oct. 18 to discuss future plans for three roads in Catonsville that were affected by flooding in late May.
Parts of River Road and Thistle Road remain closed or partially closed after being devastated by the flooding. River Road lost a bridge, and parts of Thistle Road were destroyed by erosion. Hilltop Road, because of its proximity to the others, will be involved in future plans concerning River and Thistle roads.
The closed roads have disrupted commuters and left many in the community with questions as to what comes next for them, said Steven Walsh, director of Baltimore County’s Department of Public Works.
County officials, including Walsh, County Councilman Tom Quirk and engineers from Public Works, will be at the meeting.
Walsh said the meeting would be less of a public input session and more of a way to explain to the community what work the county already has done and to detail future plans for the roads.
“We think the direction we’re going to go is sound,” Walsh said, adding that he will refrain from giving specifics on the plans before the public meeting.
The May floods brought widespread damage to the southwestern part of the county. The Catonsville Historical Society saw its basement flooded, which damaged artifacts, including archived copies of The Catonsville Times. The society is facing an estimated $50,000 price tag in repairs.
Dave Ferraro, 48, who has lived on River Road for about six years, said the road has closed before, but never for as long as it has now.
“It’s made things difficult, not impossible,” Ferraro said. There are two roadblocks that Ferraro must move out of the way to reach his home, he said.
Ferraro said he hopes Baltimore County will “make lemonade out of lemons” in repairing the road; he wants River Road turned into a pedestrian-bike pathway that’s closed to vehicular traffic.
“If vehicular traffic needs to return, then it would be, at maximum, a one-way [road for vehicles],” Ferraro said. “That’s what we hope.”
The flood and subsequent rainy summer also damaged parts of Patapsco Valley State Park. The popular Grist Mill Trail, along the Patapsco River, was almost washed out and bridges along the trail were destroyed.
Those seeking more information about the roads meeting can contact Rahee Famili, of Baltimore County’s Highway Design Section, at 410-887-3739 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.