Mayor Kenneth W. Clark has asked the Sykesville town manager to prepare a plan for closing Spout Hill Road to through traffic. The town also would post signs telling motorists to call the county with complaints.
"Closing is an option we have to look at, if the road continues to deteriorate and the county doesn't respond to us," said the mayor. "The road is unsafe. It is not a matter of aesthetics, but of safety."
The county and the town dispute who should pay to repair the heavily used road, which connects Third Avenue to Main Street. The mayor said the county sewer line under the road has caused "holes that are still growing by the minute."
Sykesville used a state grant to repair the line and wants the county to pay for damages caused by its leaky system.
Last month, the county offered to pay $4,000 for materials and $6,000 for labor and equipment to resurface the worst areas of the road.
That was not enough, the Town Council said.
"They want to scrape the road and throw down some concrete," said Mr. Clark. "The pavement will continue to crack and sink."
Town Manager James L. Schumacher said the road needs more than spotty repaving. The town wants county crews to put down under the new asphalt the standard 8 inches of crushed rock over a 2-inch base. Mr. Schumacher estimates the job could cost about $35,000.
"Sykesville countered our offer with a request for new stone and overlay," said Keith Kirschnick, county public works director. "We are evaluating their request and will take our recommendations to the commissioners."
Mr. Kirschnick said that since Spout Hill is a town road, "it's [the town officials'] prerogative" to close it.
He said he understands the town's concern, but stopped short of calling the road unsafe. If Spout Hill were a county road, it would "be on our list to do this summer," he said.
"We are getting close to a resolution," Mr. Kirschnick said.
Mr. Clark said the town is seeking an equitable and lasting resolution to the fray.
"We all want this resolved so we can get on with our day-to-day lives," he said. "The county should repave and then we will assume responsibility for the maintenance."