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Route 97 likely to need upgrades even with bypass


A Westminster bypass alone will not significantly reduce the expected 5,000-plus vehicles traveling Route 97 daily by 2020, a Towson consulting firm said yesterday.

But without a bypass, particularly along the proposed western route, almost all the intersections near the Carroll County Airport will be unable to handle the increased level of traffic, said James W. Holls of Whitney, Bailey, Cox and Magnani.

"The existing road will require additional improvements," said Mr. Holls during the Carroll County Industrial Development Authority meeting yesterday.

About a year ago, the IDA hired the firm to do the $22,000 study at the request of the county commissioners and the county planning department. County officials received the study's preliminary results during the IDA meeting. About 1,000 vehicles a day travel Route 97, well within acceptable ranges for the current road, Mr. Holls said. But even with a bypass, he said, county officials will need to make the following improvements, involving almost all the Route 97 intersections in Westminster north of Route 140:

* Southbound Route 140 -- two through-lanes in each direction and one left-turn lane for northbound traffic.

* Northbound Route 140 and Wynchurst Drive -- two through-lanes in each direction, turn lanes in each direction for traffic entering Route 140 and provisions in each direction for traffic turning onto Wynchurst.

* Kriders Church Road -- three through-lanes, two left-turn and one right-turn lanes for northbound traffic, and one left-turn lane and one right-turn lane for southbound traffic.

* Airport Drive and Magna Way -- four through-lanes, two left-turn lanes and one right-turn lane in each direction.

* Meadowbranch Road (now a dead end into the airport runway) -- four through-lanes in each direction, provisions for right turns for southbound traffic and a left-turn lane for northbound traffic.

To bring the proposed bypass intersections and Airport Drive to acceptable levels, the study suggests, county officials should also consider a full cloverleaf for bypass access, rather than the half-cloverleaf that is proposed; access into Air Business Center from the west side; and a realignment of Pleasant Valley Road.

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