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Robinwood Drive bypass on tap

December 05, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Hoping to unclog a busy corridor that might get worse, Washington County officials are acquiring land to create a bypass west of Robinwood Drive.

"We're at least three to five years from this project," said Gregory I. Snook, president of the Washington County Commissioners.

The Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees on Thursday unanimously agreed to convey up to 10 acres to the county for the bypass.

A portion would go to Richard A. and Robin M. Daughtridge, with whom the county is negotiating for their land, said Merle Elliott, president of the board of trustees.

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The Daughtridges would sell 21/2 acres to the county in exchange for cash and about 4 acres belonging to HCC northeast of the campus, according to Snook and Elliott.

The rest of the property HCC conveyed would be used as a right of way for the bypass.

Snook said the bypass would be about 400 to 500 feet long and 80 feet wide, allowing for two lanes in each direction.

It would split off Robinwood Drive just south of Woodbridge Avenue and run due north. It would pass between Greenhill Drive and Partridge Terrace before ending at Jefferson Boulevard.

Snook said the bypass is part of a broad plan to keep up with growth on and around Robinwood Drive.

In October, the County Commissioners decided to levy fees on new construction to pay for road improvements as part of its Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance.

Washington County Hospital has announced plans to move to Robinwood Drive, bringing more traffic with it.

The estimated cost of the bypass was not available Thursday.

Gary Rohrer, the county's public works director, did not return phone messages left at his office Thursday morning and afternoon.

When a reporter stopped at the public works department Thursday afternoon to ask him to designate the bypass route on a map, he would not come out of his office.

Later, Snook provided the route.

The HCC Board of Trustees held an emergency meeting Thursday to vote on the land transfer.

Snook said he requested the meeting so the county could have the HCC deal in place before continuing to negotiate with the Daughtridges.

Six of the seven trustees approved the transfer - three in person at the meeting and three by conference call. The seventh trustee was absent.

The trustees included several conditions as part of the approval.

One is that the college, unlike future developers, will not have to help fund construction of the bypass.

Another is that the college will be guaranteed at least one new access point to the campus after the bypass is built.

Elliott said the college wants a second entrance, probably made by connecting Varsity Lane, south of the campus, to a future road linking Eastern Boulevard and Robinwood Drive.

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