BERLIN – Area residents concerned about Route 589 will
get the opportunity to learn more about the future of the beleaguered corridor
next week when the State Highway Administration (SHA) hosts on open house on
the ongoing feasibility study at Stephen
School next Thursday.
Improving or widening
Route 589 has become a top priority for Worcester County,
second only to the completion of the ongoing dualization of Route 113. While it
may be far down the pipeline in terms of physical improvements, preliminary
planning is already underway and local residents will get the chance to view
the progress at SHA’s open house next Thursday, Sept. 18 at Decatur Middle from
4 to 7:30 p.m.
There will be no formal
presentation during the open house. Instead, displays will be set up to explain
the purpose of the study and outline key issues. Attendees will be able to walk
through at their leisure and view the progress SHA has made on the feasibility
study to date.
The purpose of the
feasibility study is to explore ways to relieve summer traffic congestion along
the highway, which runs in front of the populous Ocean Pines community and
connects the larger Routes 113 and 50. The intent is to establish a common
vision for Route 589 that will guide state, local and private decisions and
investments in the corridor, if and when funding becomes available in the
The corridor feasibility
study is investigating a broad range of issues for the Route 589 corridor
including land use, zoning, development, local access and circulation, access
control, bicycle and pedestrian safety, the potential need for emergency
evacuations. Perhaps more importantly, the study is taking a close look at
capacity and highway safety improvements.
Another aspect of the
study will examine the potential issues that could arise if slots are approved
for the Ocean Downs racetrack on Route 589. State voters will decide in
November whether or not to allow slots in Maryland including Ocean Downs and the
feasibility study for Route 589 will include an assessment of the potential
effects on traffic, land use and development in the surrounding area.
SHA is currently working
with elected officials, government agencies and the public to clearly define
the goals and direction of the feasibility study for Route 589. The next steps
will include engineering studies, an evaluation of environmental impacts, a
cost assessment and potential public-private partnerships.