Harford County plans to begin work soon to build a roundabout at a key intersection leading to the Perryman Peninsula and one of the region’s major manufacturing and distribution centers.
The county’s Board of Estimates approved a $1,910,930 construction contract with Gray & Son, of Timonium, Tuesday to build the roundabout at the intersection of Routes 7 and 159 – Old Philadelphia and Perryman roads.
Gray & Son had the lowest of three bids received, according to estimates board documents. The other bidders were Dixie Construction and Comer Construction, both of Harford County.
The county government has long been desirous of improving access to the Perryman area, which has the county’s largest concentration of undeveloped industrial land and is home to Clorox, XO Logistics, Rite Aid Distribution and several other manufacturers and warehouse operations.
Although the roundabout is being built at the intersection of two state roads, and the county has previously sought state funding for it, the county is paying for the project from its funds because of its importance to economic development, county administration spokesperson Cindy Mumby explained.
“The project will relieve congestion, especially for tractor trailers serving businesses at the Perryman Peninsula, at what is now a ‘T’ intersection with a stop sign on Perryman Road,” Mumby wrote in an email Wednesday.
Design work for the roundabout took a year, and some private properties had to be acquired for the project, Mumby said.
The turning radius of the roundabout is designed to accommodate large trucks traveling through the intersection will no longer be required to stop, she said. June 2019 is the estimated completion date.
“These are state roads, but the county executive has said that the roundabout is vital to economic development and so the county would propose using PILOT revenue to fund the project,” Mumby wrote.
PILOT, which stands for payment in lieu of taxes, is a fund that was created with money the county has received from the developer of The GATE office and research complex at Aberdeen Proving Ground, a private development on 416 acres inside the Army post’s security perimeter undertaken under an enhanced use lease arrangement with the Army.
Project owner St. John Properties, of Baltimore, is not paying property taxes on its company-owned buildings, which have been constructed on federal property that is typically exempt from local property taxes. Up to 2 million square feet of office and research space could eventually be built at the site, according to the company’s website. About a third of the property has been developed.
A decade ago when The GATE project got underway, the county agreed to receive annual payments in lieu of actual taxes — payments which would be less than typically would be owed and with the money received designated for restricted uses. At the time, Army representatives were adamant the project could not move forward without the county signing off on a PILOT arrangement.
According to Mumby, PILOT revenue “must only be used for transportation-related projects located within three miles of the APG gate.”
She said the county accounts for annual payments under the PILOT agreement in a separate fund. Since the 2013 fiscal year, the county has received almost $1.5 million in payments into the PILOT.
The Perryman roundabout will be the first county project to use funds from The GATE PILOT, according to Mumby.