SNOW HILL — The dualization of US Route 113 was confirmed as the top transportation priority for Worcester County last week, but there was some debate over whether other projects should be given to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) as secondary priorities.
The County Commissioners eventually voted to keep the list simple and focused on Route 113, with other projects like the dualization of Route 90 and expansion of Route 589 listed only as “considerations.”
Keeping the list uncluttered could benefit Worcester’s chances of actually having MDOT follow through with a single priority project.
“Years ago we used to give just a whole list of projects,” said Ed Tudor, director of Development Review and Permitting. “But due to reduced funding the state has asked that we narrow that as much as possible.”
MDOT acknowledged as much in a letter sent to the commission in December of 2011, stating, “future priority letters should be limited in the number of priority projects included because we continue to face great challenges in funding our state’s significant transportation needs.”
The commission was unanimous in the decision to give the continued dualization of Route 113 top billing in response to MDOT. However, there was some division over what other projects should also be included in the priority update.
Commissioner Louise Gulyas, on behalf of Ocean City, advocated for adding the dualization of Route 90 to the list.
“Relative to long-range planning and the effects the replacement of the US 50 Bridge will have on overall accessibility to Ocean City,” wrote David Recor, town manager for Ocean City, in a letter to the commission, “we truly feel it is far more prudent to complete the dualization of the entire MD 90 corridor, from US 50 to MD 528, prior to replacement of the US 50 Bridge. With the right of way already in place, a major time consuming hurdle on such a project is a non-issue and should position the state to expedite the project.”
As the commissioners discussed the possibility of adding Route 90 to the priority list, Commissioner Judy Boggs reminded them that expanding Route 589 in her home district of Ocean Pines has traditionally been the county’s runner-up project behind Route 113. She worried that adding the Ocean City renovation to the list could generate confusion for the state.
A compromise was reached when the commission agreed to only include Route 113 on the priority list. Work on Route 90 and Route 589 were then attached as considerations in no specific order of priority.