- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Calvert County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a 22-page packet consisting of a detailed list of county transportation projects, including the Gov. Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge replacement, for the upcoming year.
Each year, the commissioners send a letter to the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, outlining the county’s transportation priorities. The report was presented by the Department of Community Planning and Building to the commissioners at their work session Tuesday, regarding the upcoming transportation projects and funding necessary for the year ahead.
“In the past, it’s been an effort of futility,” Patricia Haddon, principal planner for the department of community planning and building, said. “Last year, for the first time, [the state] gave us significant funding toward our top priority, which was good news,” Haddon said regarding the $15 million the department received for the planning and design of the Gov. Thomas Johnson Memorial Bridge and Route 4 expansion.
The bridge remains the department’s main priority. The county claims it is a project critical to national homeland security as well as safety because it serves a large nuclear power generating facility, a regional natural gas transport facility and a major U.S. Naval base, according to documents from the department. Documents also state that the bridge serves more than 30,000 vehicles per day, with an estimated increase to 35,200 by 2030, far in excess of the bridge’s current two-lane capacity.
The department’s second priority is widening a portion of Route 2/4 between the southern end of Route 765 in Prince Frederick at Industry Lane to north of Auto Drive. This project, documents state, will widen the route to six lanes with access control and turning movement restrictions and an underpass. The department placed this project as the second priority because it is the only north/south arterial highway in the county and serves more than 50,000 vehicles per day.
“Our ability to evacuate or respond in the event of emergencies will be seriously compromised if planned upgrades to this highway are not expedited,” the commissioners’ letter to MDOT states. “Taking the road to six lanes has long been a goal of both the State as well as the County.”
Another planned capital project involves raising Route 261 in North Beach from Ninth Street to the Anne Arundel County line to a level above the floodplain, to prevent coastal and stormwater flooding, which cuts off southern Anne Arundel County communities from North Beach and Chesapeake Beach.
In addition, new commuter bus routes to the Suitland Metro and Federal Center are projects the department is hoping to begin.
“For the past decade, commuters as well as the Board of County Commissioners have requested the addition of a dedicated Commuter Bus route to the Suitland Metro and adjoining campuses of the National Maritime Intelligence Center/Office of Naval Intelligence, National Archives, Naval Oceanographic Office and the Census Bureau,” the letter states. “With the expanded parking now available through the completed Prince Frederick Park and Ride, and the anticipated opening of the Dunkirk Park and Ride in late 2014, there is ample commuter parking that could access this service.”
The letter mentions other capital improvement projects, such as the redesign and safety improvements of Route 231 at Route 765 and Route 231 at the Calvert Industrial Park intersections, service expansion to public transit, the Lusby Town Center Streetscape and sidewalks along Main Street to its intersection with Church Street.
“Thanks for the good news,” Commissioner Evan Slaughenhoupt (R) said to the department representatives Tuesday.
“It’s wonderful,” Haddon said. “It’s the first time since I came to work here that I can sit with a smile and say we’re going to get something for this.”