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Company's plea delays closing of Sanner Road; Johns Hopkins APL, residents sought time


Prompted by a letter from Howard County's largest private employer, the county Department of Planning and Zoning has decided to delay the closing of Sanner Road near Clarksville for at least two weeks.

Marsha McLaughlin, the agency's deputy director, said Friday that the department agreed to postpone the closing to allow officials to talk more with Sanner Road homeowners, who have scheduled a community meeting for 7 p.m. Feb. 11.

County crews had been prepared to close a portion of Sanner Road near Pindell School Road tomorrow so the Security Development Corp. could build a road connecting Sanner to a planned subdivision of $300,000 houses.

After the new road is completed, Sanner Road would remain closed for several months to allow the county to renovate a dilapidated bridge on it.

A spokeswoman for the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), which asked the county for the delay because of traffic safety concerns, said officials were pleased by the news.

"Hopefully, this will allow us enough time to get those extra safety precautions in," said Dee Reese.

Residents and APL officials complained that they were not notified about the closing until two weeks ago.

"We should've been notified before," said homeowner William D. Esters, who estimated that he would have to drive an additional three miles to get to Route 32.

McLaughlin said part of the problem was that the developer was expected to start construction of the road last August, which would have widened the gap between the road construction and the bridge renovation.

"What we're going to do is get more information out to the residents and get their input," she said.

McLaughlin said the delay also would provide time to put up road signs.

Reese said APL, which employs about 3,500 workers, asked the county to install rumble strips on Pindell School Road at Johns Hopkins Road before closing Sanner Road.

"Our employees were telling us that cars tend to come around on Pindell School Road a lot faster than the 30 miles-per-hour speed limit," Reese said.

"It can be dangerous, and with the added traffic going that way because of Sanner, it's going to increase the risk," she said.

McLaughlin said the department would review the request and other safety alternatives for the intersection.

Pub Date: 1/31/99

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