Town, state to confer on road change ideas


Sykesville is pushing ahead plans to improve access to Route 32 and looking for support wherever it is available.

Town officials will meet with the State Highway Administration (SHA) tomorrow to clarify Sykesville's position on two options: extending Third Avenue or realigning Obrecht Road around the north end of Fairhaven Retirement Community.

"The state wants to know whether the town and county want to extend Third Avenue," said Doug Rose, SHA district engineer.

"There is more than one issue and more than one alternative. We have to decide what makes sense from both a growth and safety standpoint."

The town has said it would like both roads built simultaneously. But Mr. Rose said, "They don't have the money for either road."

Sykesville is looking for state money to extend Third Avenue from Obrecht Road to Route 32. The town would also like to pursue the realignment, a nearly $2 million project that the county has budgeted for next year.

"The state is interested in funding the Third Avenue extension," said Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Democrat from Westminster. "The state is spending most of the dollars for this project and should be part of the bottom line on which option moves first."

Mr. Rose said the SHA budget for next year does not include any money for the project.

"It is not in the fiscal 1996 budget now," Mr. Rose said. "We anticipate the cost roughly between $2 [million] and $3 million for our portion."

Mr. Dixon has entered the long-standing controversy and is trying to end the indecision that, for years, has hampered plans to create an access to Route 32, often called the Sykesville bypass.

The delegate, who met with town officials Monday, said extending Third Avenue to the highway "would be a significant improvement and a more realistic option."

The extension also benefits the most people, he said.

"The extension will be upgraded and signaled," Mr. Dixon said. "It will greatly improve the safety for residents."

With the new intersection, the state could close a crossing at Springfield Avenue, where poor sight distance has caused several serious accidents.

"The State Highway Administration wants this issue resolved, so they can move forward with improvements to Route 32," Mr. Dixon said.

If the town supports the Third Avenue extension, Fairhaven has offered to annex 12 acres of industrial-zoned land into the town.

"Fairhaven is willing to give the state land for the extension," Mr. Dixon said. "I am optimistic because we have all the parties involved in agreement."

Once a decision is reached and money allocated, the project would still take about two years to complete, Mr. Rose said.

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