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Some of the intersection projects proposed to deal with BRAC-related growth in Harford County make Kelly Myers of Aberdeen “sick to her stomach,” she said Thursday during a public information session at Aberdeen Middle School.

Last month, Myers’ parents received a letter putting the family on notice their home could end up being taken as part of a roadway expansion project along the Aberdeen Thruway (Route 22). The letter included a relocation package.

“I burst into tears,” Myers said. “I can’t imagine anyone taking our house.”

Myers’ parents’ home could be demolished if plans go through for two planned improvements to the intersection of Route 22 with Paradise Road, which includes widening Route 22 and creating turn-only lanes.

“In two of the alternates, our house is going to be taken,” Myers said. “They’ve lived there 30 years and now we have six months to find another home and to move.”

More than 200 people attended the public information session at Aberdeen Middle School, held to explain the improvements planned for six intersections near Aberdeen Proving Ground. The State Highway Administration hosted the meeting.

“This is an informational meeting for the public to let them know what we’re looking at,” Barbara Solberg, assistant division chief of the SHA’s Highway Design Division, said.

The SHA conducted traffic studies at 47 locations in Harford and Cecil counties based on 2015 traffic forecasts. The agency then developed short-term intersection improvement concepts, including costs and impacts for those anticipated to fail in 2015.

The six priority intersections selected for inclusion in the state Consolidated Transportation Program are:

o Route 40 at Route 715, including Old Philadelphia Road, $35 million to $55 million;

o Route 40 at Perryman Road (Route 159) and Route 7, $20 million to $30 million;

o Route 40 at Route 155 and Route 7, $10 million to $15 million;

o Route 22 at Old Post Road, $10 million to $15 million;

o Route 22 at Paradise Road, $5 million to $25 million, depending on option;

o Route 22 at Beards Hill Road, $10 million to $15 million.

“Aberdeen is ground zero for BRAC,” Aberdeen City Councilwoman Ruth Ann Young said during the session. “All of the intersections have a great impact on us and the citizens and people traveling through Aberdeen, particularly those getting to work.”

The SHA tentatively plans to begin right-of-way acquisitions in the spring or summer of 2009, complete design in the spring or summer of 2010, begin construction in the summer or fall of 2010 and complete construction in the fall or winter of 2011.

The schedule, however, depends on when the state makes funding available. None of the six is fully funded.

“That’s best-case scenario, provided we have funding and get permits in place,” Solberg said. “We’re going to use the information to prioritize. We’ll listen to all the comments to see if priorities need to change or any tweaking to our designs.”

“We’re trying to work with the state on issues and improvements that need to be done and how it impacts the community,” Harford County Public Works Director Bob Cooper, who also attended the session, said.

Cooper said his department is supporting efforts to get “any kind of funding that’s out there.”

“Stimulus money is not going to help because a lot of the projects are not shovel-ready yet,” Cooper said.

According to Cooper, the main concern is getting traffic on and off the post at APG.

“[Route] 715 is going to be a major entrance into the proving grounds,” he noted.

Aberdeen Mayor Mike Bennett is concerned the improvements will not be finished in time for the final implementation of BRAC in September 2011.

“We’re making some steps, but the state was hit very hard with the budget, so it is what it is,” Bennett said. “We did get some money from the stimulus that will help. The only thing that concerns me is they won’t be finished when everyone’s in here for BRAC.”

Raj Multani, a business owner in Aberdeen, was interested to see how his own property could be affected.

“The reason I came here is because our family has property on Route 40 and to see how the new plans are,” Multani said. “I think it’s important. It’s also important to see how businesses are going to be affected, that was my concern.”

David J. Malkowski, SHA metropolitan district engineer for district four, which includes Baltimore and Harford counties, said SHA should have a decision by May regarding which projects will move forward.

Available funding includes $31.9 million in the fiscal years 2009 through 2014 Consolidated Transportation Program, $10.2 million, of which $8 million is earmarked for the Route 40 intersection with Route 715, and $3.1 million in other earmarks.

“We have some dollars for improvement,” Malkowski said. “We need public involvement to continue with concepts.”

Meanwhile, Myers said she felt as though Thursday’s meeting was “very discouraging” and “impersonal.”

“They don’t want to actually talk to homeowners,” Myers said. “I feel like there’s no compassion.”

She is upset about the possibility of her childhood home being destroyed.

“It came out of nowhere,” Myers said. “It’s sad, we’ve never moved. When you’ve lived somewhere for so long, it’s hard to move.”

For more information about the BRAC intersection improvements, please visit www.marylandtransportation.com/Planning/brac.


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