Safety upgrades planned for dangerous Mount Airy intersection Changes to improve access on Ridge Rd.


MOUNT AIRY -- The council voted Monday night to improve the town's most dangerous intersection -- at Ridge Road near the Mount Airy Shopping Center.

Two changes are planned to improve access to the shopping center, and more may follow to improve access to land with development potential between Ridge Road, which is Route 27, and Interstate 70.

One of the first changes will give motorists direct access to the shopping center from Ridge Road at East Ridgeville Boulevard.

There is no direct access to the center at this point, but many motorists try to get through there, causing confusion and accidents.

The 100,000-square-foot center is anchored by Safeway Stores Inc. and Rite Aid Pharmacy.

After changes are made, motorists at this intersection will be able to turn toward Ridge Avenue and then proceed straight into the shopping center, or turn right or left onto Ridge Avenue, which is not possible now.

The other change will allow motorists driving east on West Ridgeville Boulevard to turn left on Ridge Avenue to get to the shopping center, which also is not possible now.

"Safety is an issue because that intersection is a mess," Councilman William E. Wagner Jr. said.

A state highway report issued this week shows there were more accidents at the intersection of Ridge Road and East Ridgeville Boulevard in 1991 than any other intersection in town, Councilman Marcum N. Nance said.

Last year, there were 10 accidents at the intersection. None resulted in deaths, but 13 people were injured, he said.

The council voted Monday to advertise for bids for construction work on the two changes.

Mr. Nance, who oversees the streets and road committee, said the shopping center owner will share the cost with the town.

The town estimated that concept plans, detailed drawings and the actual construction would cost about $90,000, with $50,000 to $70,000 going toward construction costs, he said.

An agreement with Ron Cohen of Merridale Garden Limited Partnership, which owns the shopping center, has not been concluded, Mr. Nance said.

Also on Monday, the council decided to meet with residents of Parrsville and Conestoga Heights to discuss a possible extension of West Ridgeville Boulevard across Ridge Road.

The extension would run parallel to East Ridgeville Boulevard and cut across the back of the Mount Airy Carnival Grounds and connect to Century Drive.

The extension would allow access to a 12-acre commercially zoned parcel at Ridge Road near I-70 owned by Robert Peacock of Damascus.

Mr. Peacock said he has many businesses that would be interested in locating on the parcel if it had access to Ridge Road.

If the extension is built, access to the current East Ridgeville Boulevard from Ridge Road would have to be closed, town planner Teresa M. Bamberger said.

L The extension is shown in the town's master plan, she added.

A public meeting is scheduled at 8 p.m. Aug. 26 at a place to be announced.

4 For information, call the Town Hall at 795-6012.

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