Letter-writing campaign urged to support bypass


Hampstead residents and anyone who drives Route 30 through town should write to the state Department of Transportation to voice support for the Hampstead bypass, said town Councilman Dwight Womer at last night's council meeting.

Mr. Womer brought back bad news from a meeting he and Hampstead Mayor Clint Becker attended yesterday afternoon in Westminster with state Secretary of Transportation O. James Lighthizer, the Carroll County commissioners and members of the county's legislative delegation.

He told the audience that state DOT officials said there will be no money for the Hampstead bypass for the next six years, except $25,000 allotted for engineering work.

The Hampstead bypass is expected to cost $35 million, including the cost of land to be purchased by the state.

Mr. Womer said letters should be addressed to either Mr. Lighthizer or State Highway Administrator Hal Kassoff, and sent to the Maryland Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 8755, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Md. 21240-0755.

The fact that the state has allotted engineering money for the project is an indication that "it is still a very active project," Mayor Becker said after last night's council meeting. He said the state is allocating money for engineering work for only a few projects statewide.

Also last night, Mr. Womer said he is convening a committee to consider recommendations on how to ease congestion on Route 30 until a bypass is built.

The committee will meet for the first time today at 7:30 p.m. in the town hall. The recommendations it will consider are contained in a report commissioned by the State Highway Administration and released this past summer.

The report recommended that traffic lights on Route 30 in Hampstead be wired together to improve their timing and ease traffic flow.

The study also recommended that some parking spaces on Route 30 be eliminated to improve traffic flow near intersections.

Another suggestion is to close Black Rock Road from Route 30 to Gill Avenue, and turn it into a parking lot.

Mr. Womer said after last night's council meeting that the committee will make a recommendation to the Town Council within the next couple of months.

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