The State Highway Administration offered Westminster business owners a bewildering array of possible improvements to Route 140 last night, confusing at least some listeners.
Nearly 100 members of the business community turned out to learn how some proposed alternatives to a bypass would affect their stores, service stations, car dealerships and other enterprises.
They heard first from SHA officials who outlined short-term lane additions as well as long-term plans to handle the 70,000 cars a day expected to travel the road in 2015.
Westminster city planner Katrina Tucker attempted to alleviate the confusion that was evident in some questions by explaining that the SHA was outlining two different projects: short-term improvements that highway engineers say they will recommend regardless of bypass plans and a long-term decision on whether to build what Ms. Tucker called "a true bypass" north or south of the city or to scrap the bypass and modify the existing road.
One short-term proposal would add a third through lane on Route 140 between Route 97 south and Route 27 to improve the intersections with the worst accident records. District traffic engineer Gene R. Straub reported that in 1993, the intersection of Route 140 and Route 97 south had 14 accidents, the Gorsuch Road intersection nine and Center Street 10.
Mr. Straub said many of the accidents were rear-end collisions, an indication of congested traffic. He said if the $2 million change is approved, the earliest possible construction date would be the fiscal year that begins July 1, 1996.
One man criticized the proposed short-term solution for doing nothing to address congestion from the Englar Road intersection to Route 97 north.
Meadow Branch road resident William Englar Woodward, who said his father's farm was "destroyed by Route 140," argued against either the northern bypass, which would bisect his property, or the southern route.
The SHA's long-term options include building a northern bypass or southern bypass or widening Route 140 and cutting off some crossovers instead of building a bypass.