Council Prioritizes Five-Year Transportation Work

SALISBURY – Road improvements, airport renovations and drainage studies topped the county’s list of priority transportation projects in the next five years.

In a work session on Tuesday, Public Works Director Dallas Baker presented the Wicomico County Council with a draft priority letter identifying requests for transportation improvements to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

Each year, the county submits a priority letter of requested improvements for the state’s Consolidated Transportation Plan, which outlines a six-year capital budget for transportation projects.

“The Consolidated Transportation Plan is what I like to call the Maryland Department of Transportation’s equivalent of our capital improvement plan,” Baker said. “This letter highlights the items that the county is asking the state to pursue.”

Baker said this year the county’s priority letter identifies requests for improvements to the airport, roadways and sidewalks, as well as various draining, planning and traffic studies.

“This is highlighting to the state the items we are asking them to investigate and improve within the county,” he said.

Baker said additions to this year’s priority letter include a request for a speed reduction along Mount Hermon Road and requests for drainage studies and improvements along Nanticoke Road and near the Salisbury bypass.

Baker said prior requests for a traffic light at the intersection of Sixty Foot Road and Route 50 – which is currently under construction – will be removed from the county’s list and replaced with a request to reduce the speed limit along Mount Hermon Road from 50 mph to 40 mph.

“That project is currently under construction,” he said, “so we removed that from the list and replaced it with a request for a speed reduction on Mt. Hermon Road.”

Baker noted that a petition signed by 109 residents requesting the change will be added to the county’s letter.

Baker explained that this year’s priority letter also includes requests for an embankment stabilization project along the Salisbury bypass near Peggy Neck Branch and a drainage study along Nanticoke Road.

“What we are looking for is some help from State Highway (Administration) on how best to get water off Nanticoke Road and into an accepting body of water …,” he said. “The question is how was Nanticoke originally supposed to drain, how is this water supposed to get off and does that way still make sense or is there a better way to approach it.”

While there were no major concerns with items on the list, the council agreed to include a letter to the State Highway Administration.

“I want to make an additional request to put a letter in thanking State Highway Administration for the work on the Sixty Foot Road intersection,” Councilman Joe Holloway said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Baker said the draft priority letter will be brought before the county council for approval on Sept. 18.

“If you all are in agreement with it, we’ll move forward with it,” he said. “If you want to see things revised, please let me know.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.