To alleviate traffic congestion on major roads in Carroll County's most populated area, the county must complete long-planned connector roads there, officials said at a public hearing yesterday that drew about 100 people to Liberty High School in Eldersburg.
The county is moving ahead with plans to build several vital connectors, including MacBeth Way, which it has dubbed a priority project. Like many secondary roads, MacBeth goes through several neighborhoods that have sprouted in the 22 years since the original transportation plan for the area was written.
Several sections of MacBeth Way have remained unfinished while the county waited for developers of surrounding subdivisions to complete their work. Scrapping the completion of MacBeth Way -- which has been on the county master plan since 1977 -- would require a vote by the county commissioners.
The connection is vital to transportation plans for an area with more than 28,000 residents. It would divert motorists bound for Route 70 and Howard County from Liberty Road.
While many residents have resigned themselves to a through street from Brangles Road to Route 32, they fear increases in traffic, noise and speeding.
"Traffic is going to skyrocket when the connection goes through," said Shari Seitz, a MacBeth Way resident. "When you could go to Howard County without getting onto Route 26, you're going to make our road a thoroughfare."
The roadway, about 3.25 miles and parallel to Route 26, would allow motorists at the southern end of Eldersburg to avoid the frequently snarled intersection of Routes 26 and 32, a crossing that is rated one of the most dangerous in the county.
According to a recent traffic study, as many as 3,000 vehicles a day use MacBeth Way. The study also showed that as many as 500 of those motorists exceed the posted 25 mph speed limit.
Residents are concerned that completing the road will draw much more traffic and increased speeding. Several local roads feed into MacBeth Way and every 25 feet is usually a driveway. Only one side of the street has a sidewalk.
Last summer, residents of MacBeth Way delivered a petition to county commissioners calling for speed bumps that was signed by nearly all residents of the street.
J. Michael Evans, county director of public works, offered several suggestions to deter speeders, including building speed bumps. Last night's audience overwhelmingly favored speed bumps.