Rustic Roads Program Proposed For Frederick County

It would replace the Rural Roads program.

Picture from Frederick County Government.

Frederick, Md (KM) Some changes could be coming to Frederick County’s Rural Roads Program. During her public information briefing on Tuesday, County Executive Jan Gardner says the Scenic and Rural Roads Advisory Committee   is recommending a new program be set up. “First, the county will be establishing a brand new program called Rustic Roads Program which will permanently establish rustic road preservation as a county priority,” she said. “The Rustic Roads Program incorporates all the roads that are currently in the Rural Roads Program designating these roadways as exceptionally rustic.”

There are currently 80 miles of roads in the Rural Roads Program which will become part of the Rustic Roads Program.

Gardner says there are currently 287 miles of roads that are identified as “candidate roads.”: She says they must meet certain criteria before they’re added to the Rustic Roads Program. “The road must have a posted speed limit of no more than 35-miles per hour, or, in some instances, have no posted limit at all. We have do some rural roads that are not posted for speed at all,” says Gardner.

Other criteria an average traffic volume of fewer than one  thousand trios per day. It must also be located outside of  community growth areas, and outside of major subdivision.

Gardner says the new Rustic Roads Program, which would include the establishment of a commission to oversee the program, would balance the need for safe travel and protecting the unique character of these rural roads.

Because Gardner will be leaving her post as County Executive, she cannot introduced this legislation to the Council for its consideration. She said no legislation can be introduced following a general election and before inauguration day for the new County Executive and County Council. But she hopes the next administration will present this measure to the Council.

The new County Executive and County Council will take their oaths of office on Monday, December 5th.

But she says the roads listed as rural roads will remain that way. “So it’s important to note that no roads will be added or removed from the Rural Roads Program until a new Rustic Roads Commission can be established through legislation,” says Gardner.

And until a new Rustic Roads Commission and legislation are  approved, the County’s Division of Public Works will continue to maintain local rural roads under current guidelines.  . “That means there will no changes to a  road’s width or alignment, the type of surface will stay the stay, and the  vegetation or  trees that grow along the right of way will continue to be maintained,” Gardner said.

By Kevin McManus