Living with Detours CARROLL COUNTY


Weather permitting, the closing of the intersection at Main and Center streets in the heart of Westminster will last three weeks. However, some city officials and residents make it seem like this is nothing short of a biblical plague visited on the downtown.

The State Highway Administration, which is responsible for the Main Street reconstruction, has been planning this project for three years. Its purpose is to correct severe drainage problems and road deterioration while preserving trees along the county seat's main business thoroughfare.

At the 11th hour, some city officials said they wanted at least one lane kept open for traffic. But highway administrators nixed that request, saying that mixing cars and construction workers in such proximity would be dangerous.

There's no getting around the fact that rebuilding roadways causes disruption. Construction of the Route 32 bridge over Liberty Reservoir this year has made traveling between Westminster and Eldersburg more difficult, and the closing of the intersection at Washington Road and Main Street in Westminster earlier this year also inconvenienced motorists.

The state's planning of alternative routes, however, has been extensive and well-publicized.

By now, most motorists who travel through Westminster know it is best to avoid Main Street between Railroad Avenue and Washington Road. Through this month, they can add Center Street to their list of roads to avoid.

For emergency vehicles coming from the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department, maneuvering around the closed intersection will be more difficult. Fire trucks can't navigate through the alleys and will have to take circuitous routes to reach emergencies on the east side of Center Street.

As for visitors to the Carroll County Farm Museum's Fall Harvest Days this weekend, they may not be able to take Center Street to their destination, but alternative routes will be marked to get them to the festivities.

For the rest of us, living through the Main Street reconstruction project is much like living through the remodeling of a house. It's disruptive, it's difficult and it's dirty, but the final product will be well worth the inconvenience.

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