Work at airport brings change

April 02, 2007|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - With the construction of an airport runway extension near his house, one resident said he notices fewer cars racing past and fewer garbage bags thrown in the fields.

But, for Terry Shuck, the project's impact is measured on his odometer.

"Well, every trip I make, it's an extra 2.6 miles, I can tell you that," said Shuck, who lives on Byers Road, which has been blocked since about June.

For Shuck and other people with homes or businesses near Hagerstown Regional Airport, the approximately $61 million expansion of a runway has brought both positive and negative changes. Byers and Air View roads both are quieter, residents said, but traveling is less convenient.

Hagerstown Regional Airport Manager Carolyn Motz said in a press release that new entrances for Byers and Air View roads will be completed in late May or early June, with the Air View Road work wrapping up first.


The total project, which will extend the length of one runway to 7,000 feet, could be finished in December 2007.

David Leazier, owner of the Colonial Sports Bar & Lounge motel and restaurant, said the project has caused "minimal" disruption.

On Sunday, when just two people sat on bar stools watching televised car races, Leazier said by phone that the airport construction actually has created business. Subcontractors have reserved rooms for stays as long as six months, Leazier said.

"It gives them a shorter stay option if they don't want to sign a lease," Leazier said.

Marie Showalter, who lives on Byers Road, also has found a benefit to the road work.

"People out walking for exercise now use our road because it's quieter. It's not a through road anymore, so that we like," Showalter said.

At Tony's New York Pizza on U.S. 11, part-owner Delfino Resendicz said he's noticed little difference.

"Some of the construction workers (come) in, but you lose some of the customers that are always coming in because they don't want to go through the construction," Resendicz said.

When it began last summer, work on Byers Road was scheduled for completion in December 2006, said Shuck, who expressed skepticism that the project would adhere to the new timelines.

Like Showalter, Shuck said the road is quieter, though he said he still sees people racing past as if they are going to find a cut-through.

"If I'm sitting on the porch, I say, 'I'll see you later,' because you know they're going to come right back, and they do," Shuck said.

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