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Revision to planned rear entrance to HCC would more than double cost

Public works director: Change would make it more effective in diverting traffic off of congested road

February 15, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS | heather.keels@herald-mail.com
  • A planned rear entrance to Hagerstown Community College would be connected to Yale Drive instead of Varsity Lane under a project revision suggested Tuesday by Washington County's public works director.
By Chad Trovinger, Graphic Artist

A planned rear entrance to Hagerstown Community College would be connected to Yale Drive instead of Varsity Lane under a project revision suggested Tuesday by Washington County's public works director.

The change would more than double the cost of the project, but would make it more effective in diverting traffic off of congested Robinwood Drive, Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III said.

The item came up as the Washington County Commissioners reviewed a draft of the county's 10-year Capital Improvement Plan, which the commissioners approve each spring along with the county budget. That vote typically takes place in May.

Last May, the previous board of commissioners agreed to add to the plan a $4.4 million project that would connect a new rear entrance to the college to Varsity Lane.

Varsity Lane is a new, developer-built road off of Robinwood Drive just south of the existing entrance to the college.

The new entrance to the college would be on the west side of campus, behind the student parking lots near the amphitheater.

That connection would have been about .58 miles, with two roundabout intersections, and was budgeted to begin construction this fiscal year.

Instead, Kroboth recommended connecting the new HCC entrance to Yale Drive at its intersection with Medical Campus Road, near Meritus Medical Center.

That connection would be about .87 miles, would include three roundabouts, and would cost about $9.4 million, according to the CIP draft.

Connecting the new entrance to Varsity Lane would simply split the college-traffic congestion between two consecutive intersections on Robinwood Drive, Kroboth said.

"It really doesn't fix the problem of congestion on Robinwood Drive," he said. "...We couple that with the construction activity from Robinwood Drive widening at the same time — it's going to be a disaster."

The Yale Drive connection would create two separate routes into the college — one using Robinwood Drive and the other using Yale Drive and the new road, Kroboth said.

The CIP draft shows that project beginning construction in fiscal year 2013.

The connection would be the first leg of a road system that eventually would connect to Eastern Boulevard by extending Professional Court over Antietam Creek, Kroboth said.

As envisioned by public works staff, that road system would center around a road called "Technology Circle," a reference to a high-tech business park some have proposed for that land, Kroboth has said.

The roads would be built on land between the college and medical center often referred to as the Mount Aetna Farms property. Diakon Senior Living owns the land but has been in negotiations to sell most of it to the Hagerstown-Washington County Industrial Foundation, known as CHIEF, a nonprofit economic development organization that has been involved in the creation of several local business parks.

The proposed delay in the project is due in part to a desire to wait for the outcome of those negotiations, Kroboth said Tuesday.

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