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Bypass, bike trail being studied

November 19, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

A Funkstown bypass, an inland port in Martinsburg, W.Va., and a bike trail between Hagerstown and Williamsport are some of the projects a regional group is having studied.

Hagerstown and Washington County elected officials, including the commissioners-elect, got an update Tuesday on what projects are being studied for the Hagerstown/Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Study results on several of the projects are due back from consultants in February, said Washington County Planning Director Bob Arch.

The projects being studied are:

- Building a bypass around Funkstown.

The starting point being considered is near the South Pointe development on Oak Ridge Drive.

The bypass could swing around the northwest side of Funkstown, crossing Frederick Street, the old City Farm and Antietam Creek before joining U.S. 40.

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It hasn't been determined where the bypass would connect to U.S. 40.

It could end at Edgewood Drive south of the car dealership and Hagerstown Commons or cut between Hagerstown Commons and Funkstown Elementary to join U.S. 40 at Hebb Road, City Engineer Bruce Johnston said.

City Councilman William M. Breichner said the idea of building a bypass around Funkstown might be obsolete.

- Creating a port authority in Martinsburg for rail and airport transportation. The MPO has just begun to look at this project.

- Identifying historic Civil War routes so educational signs can be posted for driving tourists. The routes would include campaigns in 1862, 1863 and 1864. Routes for 1861 and 1865 campaigns may be added.

- Building a rails to trails project between Harpers Ferry, W.Va., and Charles Town, W.Va.

- Studying the impact of the upcoming Interstate 70 interchange with Downsville Pike on intersections leading into the city.

When the interchange opens it will be the first exit to the city for eastbound drivers on the interstate, Johnston said. Access to downtown needs to be easier from that exit or interstate drivers need to be advised to take a different exit to reach downtown, he said.

- Constructing a bike trail between Hagerstown and Williamsport. A consultant for this project will be hired in the spring, Arch said.

County Commissioner R. Lee Downey told city officials and the commissioners-elect to encourage state officials to widen Interstate 81 to three lanes in both directions.

The MPO supports the interstate widening, Arch said.

Arch said the interstate will be expanded to three lanes each way between the Spring Mills and King Street exits. A funding study is under way concerning widening the interstate to six lanes along the entire West Virginia corridor, he said.

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