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Residents want Robinwood Drive plan revised

October 24, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

Many of those at a Thursday night meeting urged Washington County officials to explore alternatives to a tentative plan for a $3 million realignment and widening of Robinwood Drive near Jefferson Boulevard.

More than 100 people attended the meeting at Hagerstown Junior College.

Washington County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer presented the county's preferred preliminary realignment of the road, which would run between Partridge Trail and Greenhill Drive between two housing developments.

Rohrer said that the county preferred the realignment to upgrading the existing Robinwood Drive in part because the realignment only affects a handful of properties.

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Upgrading the existing road would require the county to buy and demolish as many as 35 houses at a cost of about $3.5 million. Rohrer said that wasn't a viable option.

But most residents said the county should consider other options, including connecting Robinwood to Harp Road to the west or Keefer Funk Road to the east.

Rohrer said upgrading Harp Road would require the county to purchase and demolish several homes and would be too far west to divert traffic coming from Smithsburg. The county's preferred alignment would result in the destruction of only one house along Jefferson Boulevard. Also, building an eastern bypass could be very expensive, Rohrer said. But Rohrer promised the county would look at all suggestions.

Some residents also suggested that building a road from Hagerstown Junior College to Eastern Boulevard would eliminate the traffic problem. Rohrer said the county didn't plan to build that road without substantial developer contributions and said it wouldn't relieve traffic coming from Smithsburg.

Rohrer said the roads needed to be upgraded for safety reasons. "We have to consider the volume of traffic going through this sausage grinder right now," he said. About 10,000 cars a day use that stretch of Robinwood, McGee said.

Rohrer said the county was moving forward with the realignment because the county might have to buy and demolish newly built houses if the right-of-way isn't acquired soon.

Some residents said the county didn't have much choice. "It makes sense," said Anthony Pellegrino, who lives on Greenhill Drive. "Their hands are tied. They don't have much open space to get a road through."

Others worried a road would result in the development of strip malls and gas stations, and would decrease the value of their homes.

"Who wants to walk out their back door and into a four-lane highway?" said Mona Adkins, who lives on Partridge Trail.

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