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Properties acquisition holding up first phase of Funkstown bypass

August 01, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN — The acquisition of a few properties is holding up the start of work on the first phase of the Funkstown bypass, Washington County Administrator Greg Murray said.

The issue came up at the county commissioners meeting held Tuesday night at Funkstown Town Hall.

Town resident Barry Warrenfeltz presented a picture to the commissioners of traffic backed up along Edgewood Drive heading into town.

Warrenfeltz said it took him three light changes to get through the intersection at Baltimore Street, a frequent occurrence on weekdays.

The Funkstown bypass, also known as Southern Boulevard, has been discussed for decades, but construction has yet to start on the first phase. The first phase will connect East Oak Ridge Drive to an area known as Funkstown Hill on Frederick Street.

“If they were selling acreage for $1 an acre, we’d built it,” Commissioner Ruth Anne Callaham told Warrenfeltz during the Tuesday night meeting.

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“I understand that money’s the problem. And Funkstown’s been hearing money’s the problem for 25, 30 years,” Warrenfeltz said.

“We won’t purchase property at any cost,” Murray said after the meeting.

The county still needs to acquire approximately two to three properties along the route for phase one, county officials said.

The county also needs to buy pieces of land in the Funkstown Hill area so a traffic roundabout can be constructed, said Sarah Lankford Sprecher, the county’s spokeswoman. State right-of-way permits for the area along Funkstown Hill will need to be acquired as well because Frederick Street is part of a state highway, she said.

The county has more than $5.6 million available to move forward with construction of phase one, if ground were to break immediately, Sprecher said.

Warrenfeltz asked the commissioners if they could at least “get a handle on the development” along Edgewood and Robinwood drives to slow down the amount of traffic coming through Funkstown until the bypass can be constructed.

Callaham said she thought that was a reasonable request.

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