North End Highway Study Set for This Summer

SNOW HILL- The north end of Worcester County will be
subject to a regional transportation study this summer, set to begin sometime
in July.

The study, under consideration for the last two years, got
approval from the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday during a commissioner
meeting. The $100,000 is currently available, and will not be part of the
fiscal year 2008 budget.

Staff originally thought the study would cost as little as
$50,000, which was duly requested and received two years ago, but found that
the work would need twice the funding on further investigation.

The study will consider Route 113, from the Delaware Line
to Basket Switch Road, and Routes 50, 589, 90, and 611. Assateague Rd., also
known as Route 376, will also be studied, as well as smaller state and county
roads in the study region.

The consultant will work with the State Highway
Administration (SHA) to collect traffic counts, said Director of Comprehensive
Planning Sandy Coyman, to save funds and effort. Shore Transit will also be
brought in.

“I think they need to be at the table please,” said
Commissioner Louise Gulyas.  “That’s what it’s about.”

Commissioner Bud Church asked if the study would look at
pedestrian and bike issues along Route 50, to get students working at the beach
off the street.

The state has already offered a bike lane on Route 611,
Gulyas said. “They have promised this all the way from Assateague to the park
and ride,” she said.

In a recent meeting with SHA, Coyman said, the state
requested a list of transportation priorities from the county, including
smaller projects like bike lanes.

Commissioner Judy Boggs wondered if the smaller projects
would then take the place of larger projects, like the long sought dualization
of Route 589. “Maybe I’m getting a little cynical, particularly regarding 589,”
Boggs said.

Coyman said that the state is not intending to ignore the
dualization of Route 113 and Route 589 in favor of minor projects.

“I just don’t want them to stroke us by doing the easy
things because 113 and 589 are the most important,” Gulyas said.

The bid award will be made July 3.

“You better tell them time is of the importance because
you’re going to miss the Fourth of July in there,” Gulyas said.

According to Coyman, SHA, which already has data on the
holiday traffic, will get involved over the Fourth of July.