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Clear Spring man told to move mailbox hundreds of feet from home

July 11, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING — Edwin Shirk has been getting his mail delivered on Shank Road for almost three decades, but recently was told by the U.S. Postal Service that he must move his mailbox several hundred yards from his home due to safety concerns.

“It’s just a safety concern,” Clear Spring Postmaster Lori Kriner said.

Shank Road is very narrow, and where it passes under a bridge it is not wide enough for two vehicles to pass, Kriner said.

The tunnel under the bridge also has a stream running alongside the road with no rail separating the waterway from the road, Kriner said. Postal route inspections are conducted yearly, but the carrier recently brought to Kriner’s attention encounters with farm machinery on parts of the road where she cannot pass safely and where backing up is unsafe, Kriner said.

The letter also cited safety concerns over winter maintenance of the road and flooding.

“I don’t perceive it as any more narrow than many of the county roads in this area,” said Shirk, one of three postal service customers affected by the decision. He estimated his home is 100 yards from the tunnel.

The postal service is requiring him to move his mailbox to Shank Road’s intersection with Big Pool Road by July 25, Shirk said.

The notification will mean moving his mailbox a few hundred yards away from his home. The Big Pool Road intersection also has problems with flooding and he prefers to keep receiving his mail at home, he said.

“I don’t own any property at that end of the road,” Shirk said of the intersection. Shirk said he was not sure he could relocate the mailbox without a property owner’s permission, but Kriner said there is a 10-foot county right-of-way along the road where mailboxes may be placed.

The customers will have to move the mailboxes at their own expense, Kriner’s letter stated.

The decision to end delivery on Shank Road was hers, with the concurrence of the manager of postal operations for the western part of Maryland, Kriner said.

Kriner said she did not know if there is an appeal process for the affected customers.

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