Councilman proposes Mountain Rd. bypass to ease congestion 2 1/2 -mile link would run from Magothy Bridge Rd. to Lake Shore area


County Councilman Thomas W. Redmond is proposing a 2 1/2 -mile Mountain Road bypass to alleviate traffic congestion and improve safety on the Pasadena peninsula.

The two-lane bypass would link Magothy Bridge Road to Mountain Road between South Carolina and Maryland Avenues in Lake Shore. The route, which would include a hiking-bicycling path, would pass south of Jacobsville Park and Lake Shore Elementary School.

"This is a solution that is do able," said Mr. Redmond, whose district includes Pasadena. "It's a solution that is on the table and that can be done."

The project could cost more than $6.5 million, depending on the county's ability to buy the right of way for the road, Mr. Redmond said.

A State Highway Administration traffic study showed about 27,000 motorists use Mountain Road daily.

The same survey predicted an increase of about 8,000 cars daily by 2020.

Mr. Redmond said the bypass would divert about one-third of the current Mountain Road traffic.

Frank Halgas, president of the Greater Pasadena Council, said he welcomed the proposal.

"I'm open-minded," Mr. Halgas said. "Anything to relieve some of the pressure on Mountain Road is worth looking at."

Mr. Redmond said his proposal was prompted by an accident earlier this month in which a propane truck overturned on Mountain Road, closing it for about three hours while emergency crews righted the vehicle.

Mr. Redmond said the bypass would give emergency vehicles access to the 1,200 people living at the eastern end of the Pasadena peninsula if Mountain Road became blocked.

"There really is no exit or entrance off the peninsula except for Mountain Road," he said. "One of these days we could have two emergencies, and one of them is going to block Mountain Road, and the equipment can't get to them. That concerns me very much."

Mr. Redmond's plan arrives a little more than a month after the state set aside $500,000 to study widening a portion of Mountain Road. The money will be used to analyze the environmental impact of adding a lane to the eastbound and westbound sides of Mountain Road between Route 100 and Lake Shore Drive.

But Mr. Redmond said widening the road would only create more problems.

"It's hard enough to get out of the three lanes now," he said. "It would be suicide to get across five.

"And then the next solution is adding traffic lights. But if we add more lanes and more traffic lights, what do we accomplish?"

A forum on the proposed bypass will be held at 7 p.m. March 27 at Chesapeake High School auditorium.

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