Proposals to widen a segment of U.S. 1 could affect historic church, a business


Proposals to widen a section of U.S. 1 in Elkridge could affect a historic church and a decade-old business, State Highway Administration officials say.

The proposed construction of a three-quarter-mile left-turn lane down the center of U.S. 1 from the Deep Run stream -- near Montevideo Road -- to Business Parkway is needed to address the high number of accidents that occur near that stretch each year, officials say.

About 80 accidents occurred in the area -- which is the only part of U.S. 1 that has four lanes instead of five -- from 1991 to 1993, they say.

At a public meeting Tuesday, highway officials offered five alternatives, costing from $1.3 million to $2.4 million. All of the plans, except a no-build option, would require some businesses along the highway -- in one case, Trinity Episcopal Church -- to give up a combined total of an acre for construction.

Highway planners are trying to avoid taking any land from the church's property. It is being given such consideration because it is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, said Bruce M. Grey, of the State Highway Administration's Project Planning Division.

But one alternative would entirely displace Hub Cap City, a tire and hub cap store that has been in the 7500 block of U.S. 1 for 10 years.

"You aren't talking about moving my business," owner Dan Selke told highway officials at the meeting. "You're talking about putting me out of business."

The Rev. John Steiner, church rector, said he and the congregation prefer one of the five alternatives, one that would not require the church to give up about 6,000 square feet of its 5 acres and would not displace Hub Cap City.

"We are very much in favor of the widening, but we would prefer if [the state] wouldn't take our property," Steiner said.

Highway officials will accept public comments on the alternatives until Oct. 14. An alternative will be chosen by the spring of 1997, Grey said.

Pub Date: 9/19/96

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