After more than 50 years of planning and talking, Aberdeen is about to get its long-awaited connection between Route 22 and Beards Hill Road with the extension of Middleton Road.
“It’s been in the comprehensive plan since 1968,” Randy Robertson, Aberdeen’s city manager, told an audience of about two dozen people gathered Monday night to hear about the plan.
Middleton Road is expected to connect Route 22 from where it ends near the Royal Farms and Target stores across an open property with a roundabout at Beards Hill Road at the newly built and opened Residences of Summerlin apartments.
“Unless there’s something weather related, or something we’re missing, next March or April of next year, you should start seeing dirt [being moved],” Robertson said.
It’s a $1 million to $1.2 million project being paid for by the city, with two adjacent property owners, who also donated rights of way for the road, contributing financially to the project.
“The idea is to get this road started by next spring and get it finished by next fall,” Kyle Torster, Aberdeen’s director of public works, said.
Motorists on Route 22 have already seen some construction where the Middleton extension will go.
“There is an improvement going on on that first lot,” Parley Hess, an engineer with the City of Aberdeen, told the audience gathered for the meeting Monday in the Aberdeen City Council chambers. “There’s a pad. That’s Starbucks.”
Some of the audience members were regular attendees at Aberdeen meetings, curious about the project. A few others live in the neighborhood and are worried not only about the impact of traffic on the road, but also about how the neighborhood is changing.
“What are you going to do to protect the residential” [flavor of the community]?” Barbara O. Kreamer, who has lived at the intersection of Beards Hill and Maxa roads for many years, asked.
City officials basically said they were not planning to do anything to protect the residential feel of the neighborhood. After repeatedly asking the same question, Kreamer was told there was nothing the city could do.
Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady, sitting in the back row of the audience with City Council members Sandra Landbeck and Steve Goodin, interjected that Kreamer’s concerns are legitimate, but Monday’s meeting was not the appropriate place to address them.
McGrady said those concerns are better suited to be addressed during Aberdeen Planning Commission meetings. McGrady said now is the time to be heard before the planning commission because it’s working on a comprehensive review of the city’s zoning.
Hess told Kreamer and the audience there is little the city can do because the zoning is not only set, but also the street is developed as planned. That stretch of Beards Hill Road begins with 84 Lumber, a business zoning, with two open parcels between it and the Residences at Summerlin apartments, a multi-family residential zoning that transitions to single family homes from there to Maxa Road and beyond.
“There’s potential for traffic to increase,” Torster, the DPW director, said. “We acknowledge that.”
One of the traffic concerns is more tractor trailers.
Hess, the city engineer, said it doesn’t seem likely that more big trucks will be coming through the neighborhood.
“It’s easier for them to go up to the light,” Hess said, “especially the upgraded intersection” at Beards Hill Road and Route 22.
The roundabout is passable for tractor trailers, but not inviting, Hess said.
“It’s designed so tractor trailers can go through there,” he said. “It’s designed to discourage tractor trailers.”
Hess also allowed for the possibility there could be times when traffic is a problem, but not just in this part of Aberdeen.
“If there’s an accident on [Route] 22, all bets are off,” he said.