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County officials discuss transportation priorities with state

Elected officials from Carroll County met with Maryland Department of Transportation officials on Thursday to discuss the future of a number of transportation-related projects in the county.

The discussion encompassed a range of projects, including Main Street construction in both Hampstead and Sykesville, and improvements to Md. 32.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports provided the county officials with a rundown of the state's draft fiscal years 2017-2022 Consolidated Transportation Program.

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Commissioners, delegates and Hampstead town officials thanked the transportation officials for their work on Hampstead's Main Street revitalization project.

George Cardwell, a senior consultant with Pennoni and Associates contracted to help compose the transportation element of the Freedom Plan, told the commission that much of the concern with traffic in the Freedom Area is focused on the area surrounding Md. 26 and Md. 32.

After community members expressed concern earlier in the year that some aspects of the construction would be detrimental to local businesses, the State Highway Administration agreed to push the work back and limit the work to different segments at different times.

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The work, which will now begin in the spring, will add improvements such as sidewalks, ramps, and lighting to Md. 30 between North Woods Trail and the CSX railroad intersection, as well as accommodate better stormwater management.

Sykesville Mayor Ian Shaw urged the state officials to consider moving forward as soon as possible with a similar project in Sykesville. Shaw said the project would help the town in a number of ways.

"So many buttons get checked on that project," Shaw said.

Del Susan Krebs, R-District 5, said she worries that, without the improvements, businesses and restaurants in the area are at risk of serious damage in the event of any major storm.

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The project, SHA engineer Mark Crampton said, is currently approaching the design phase.

The Md. 32 project is also moving well, SHA Administrator Gregory Johnson told the group.

Work will likely be completed on improvements to an intersection near the armory in Sykesville this winter, Johnson said.

For Carroll's portion of the larger Md. 32 improvement project, Johnson said a needs study on the corridor is being done now. With the study and the necessary public hearings, it could be up to two years before construction work begins on the widening of that roadway, he said.

"This is a first step, but it is a big first step in laying the groundwork where you have a real project," Johnson said.

Transportation officials also told the county representatives that members of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's administration will continue the push to restore highway user revenues, something that would provide the county and its municipalities with funds to help maintain local infrastructure.

For other needs, the transportation staff told the commissioners and municipal officials to contact the department with any items they would also like to see addressed.

"We cannot fix something that we do not know about," Ports said.

heather.norris@carrollcountytimes.com

410-857-3315

twitter.com/heatherleighnor



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