Carroll County drivers can expect some inconveniences for the next few years while work proceeds on road extensions and widenings, improving intersections, a bridge replacement and the elimination of a blind curve.
The projects are in various stages, ranging from planning to completion, said J. Michael Evans, Carroll's director of public works, who updated the county commissioners on the improvements yesterday. The projects include:
In Eldersburg, lengthening left-turn lanes on a short stretch of Ridge Road before its intersection with Route 26, which has one of the highest accident rates in the county.
In the same area, adding two lanes to Liberty Road at Ridge Road, a joint state and county venture in the planning stage. It could feature the county's first high-occupancy-vehicle-only lanes.
In Westminster, completing a segment of Center Street between Cranberry and Gorsuch roads.
In Hampstead, replacing the old Houcksville Road bridge near Route 30.
In Finksburg, reconstructing Brown Road to improve the roadway and give another outlet for residents.
In Reese, eliminating a blind curve on Reese Road.
On Ridge Road, the county will modify about one-quarter of a mile just south of the intersection with Route 26, lengthening the left-turn lanes and improving the road surface, a $350,000 project expected to last three to four months.
"It's a pretty busy intersection," Evans said. "I think we counted 9,000 cars a day, and that was a few years ago."
The Ridge Road project has been put out for bids, Evans said, but has been delayed because the state asked the county to wait to make certain no conflict exists with plans to widen Liberty Road there.
Planning for the additional lanes on Liberty Road is expected to take about two years, he said.
In Westminster, Center Street will run from Carroll County General Hospital, across Route 140 and behind the new elementary and high schools, and back to Route 140 near Leidy Road.
In Hampstead, a new concrete bridge will be built 4 feet higher than the old narrow wooden bridge over the CSX railroad tracks and will serve the new Sweetheart Cup facility. Residents can expect a detour for about a year.
The project, expected to be put out for bids this fall, will include the approach from Route 30 to the bridge. It is expected to cost about $687,000, and about 90 percent will be funded by state and federal money.
In Finksburg, the $305,000 reconstruction of Brown Road, off Old Westminster Pike, has been completed and will improve "a very small, fragile road," Evans said. Residents in Carroll County Trails will have a second exit from the development.
Another safety improvement will be the elimination of "the Reese Road Curve" east of Route 140 on Reese Road. Evans said, "There's a very sharp, severe right-hand turn: It's absolutely blind."
Crews will reduce the slopes and realign the curve for about one-quarter mile, a project ready for bids this month.