Elected officials thanked the state adding funds to widen Rt. 15 in Frederick.
Frederick, Md (KM) The widening of Route 15 between Interstate 70 and Route 26 in Frederick was discussed Monday night during the annual visit by Maryland Department of Transportation officials.
Earlier this year, MDOT added $167.7-million to pay for widening the highway in the state’s six-year Consolidated Transportation Program. “We had funding already set aside for planning and design. But what this new funding allows us to do is move forward with right-of-way acquisition, utilities and more importantly, construction,:” says Tim Smith, Maryland’s State Highway Administrator.
Frederick Mayor Michael O’Connor was happy with the construction funding set aside for this project. “It’s enormously important,” he said. “I think as all of us know who drive regularly, the longer we go before we address it, we won’t addressing a traffic program; we’ll be addressing a parking problem. And that’s not what any of us want. We want to make sure the traffic continues to flow through the city.”
County Executive Jan Gardner also thanked the state for this decision. But she also recommended work begin on improving I-70 between Frederick and Mount Phillip Road. “It would increase safety which I understand is all of your issues,” Gardner said. “It would really improve the merge from I-270 and it would really help move freight west to point wests, and that’s a good thing.”
Another request concerned MARC train service. Brunswick Mayor Nathan Brown called for expanding MARC so it operates seven days a week. “I believe it did occur at one time, and it was not heavily utilized,” he said. “The times have change, and I think for a variety of reasons–commuting to work, people going to the city, recreation opportunities back and forth–I do think a feasibility of that would prove better results than in the past.”
Delegate Karen Lewis Young also supported expanding MARC. She said more people would like to ride the train. “They’d rather use it to get to work, to have their time more productive, to keep their bad fumes off the highway,:” she said. “But we have to make that possible for them.”
The CTP totals $19.9-billion. MDOT says it presents this draft plan to counties in Maryland and Baltimore City each year for review and comment. After collecting all of this information, the CPT will be finalized later this year, and presented to the General Assembly in January for its consideration.
By Kevin McManus