Brampton Hills residents who live near a planned extension of Route 100 asked state highway officials last night to install sound barriers before construction begins next month.
But State Highway Administration officials said they need at least a month to determine the type of sound barriers that can be used.
About 100 residents met with SHA representatives, Howard County and state politicians to learn more about the extension of Route 100 to the U.S. 29 interchange.
Construction is scheduled to begin in August on a two-lane expansion of Route 100 that will connect the interchange of U.S. 29 and Route 103 and also hook up with a road being built by developer Patrick McCuan near the Brampton Hills neighborhood in Ellicott City.
Residents fear that the promised sound barriers may be forgotten once construction begins.
"They're going to string us along, string us along, until they run out of money and won't be able to build a berm," said Charles Reese, who helped organize the meeting.
State highway officials say they must consider wetlands, rights of way, cost and the number of homes that need noise protection before they can decide what type of sound barrier to use.
"We're looking at the whole thing," said Charles Adams, SHA director of environmental design. He said he would consider building earth berms where it is feasible, using dense vegetation or privacy walls.
Residents also complained that county and state officials deceived them about the size of the Route 100 extension.
"Originally, they were saying a two-lane road, possibly four lanes with earth berms," said Larry Miller, a resident of Brampton Hills. "Now we're finding out plans were reneged on."
Highway officials plan to build four additional lanes beginning in 1996.
"The original approval has always been for a maximum of six lanes," said Neal Pedersen, SHA director of planning. "We have no thoughts or plans to expand beyond the six lanes."
Neighbors were not appeased.
"We want the truth," Mr. Reese said. "Before you build a road, we want guarantees."