"Oakland’s Mayor and Town Council must determine if moving forward with a bypass serves in the best interests of businesses, merchants, and the economy."
In this case, a Bypass is elective.
Oakland officials have requested a bypass, also called the Ninth Street Extended (truck route) that will circumvent the Heart of its Downtown district. The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) estimate $53.4 million (as of 2006) would be required for a bypass to reroute traffic around Garrett County’s seat which is home to the most concentrated commercial, office, retail, institutional, and government space in the county.
The proposed 2.4 miles of highway will divert traffic from the downtown area, lowering or eliminating the notice of passing traffic. Main arteries between more than 2,000 Mountain Lake Park residents and Downtown Oakland would would be bisected and create several new but uncertain intersections. The project has been deemed by state and local officials as the “number one planning and number one safety priority.”
Decades of private and public stewardship have preserved and revitalized the downtown district resulting in the restored B&O Train Station, bricked sidewalks, period lamp posts, The Transportation Museum, walking trails, murals, Veteran’s Park, and the Historic Society Facade and Gazebo.
Five committees, formed by the Greater Oakland Business Association, are now focused on bringing MORE traffic into Oakland, not less, to stimulate economic growth and commercial property values. Events like the vibrant Farmers Market and the Little Yough Music Festival fill downtown with excitement. Also, a new A&E District has just launched with state designation.
Download or share a three page document with key points and a bypass map.
MDOT Addresses Questions
The Mayor and Town Council of Mountain Lake Park hosted a public meeting on June 7, 2018 with MDOT to to ask questions about the proposed Oakland Bypass. Because the project is in it's planning stages and currently unfunded, many questions could not be answered at the meeting. Click below to see the submitted written questions and MDOT responses.
A compiled list was submitted by EMM President, Mark Stutzman on behalf of various contributors. MDOT addresses each contributor individually.
Actual Traffic Volume
An argument supporting bypass construction centers on alleviating traffic volume in Oakland. Decreases in traffic is occurring naturally, down 8.95% since 2007. A 2007 report mapped a total of 54,672 vehicle trips from 5 locations entering and leaving Oakland. The same locations reported 47,745 trips in 2015. The decline was 6,927 total trips. The percent of trucks mapped in 2017 were 4.24% single units and 1.07% combination units. Combination units have a separate rig and cargo. Vehicle Classifications See below for an interactive map link.
Cost to Oakland?
According to SHA's Project Manager, once the bypass is completed, 3rd & Oak Streets will be down-graded to a local road and no longer be maintained by SHA. Pavement upkeep, sidewalks, and snow removal will become a significant financial burden to Oakland. SHA's Public Affairs representative disagrees. This issue is unresolved.
Area residents can expect traffic disruptions while the bypass construction is underway. It could take years to complete depending on weather and unexpected delays.
A bypass won't...
Logging, single-axle and commercial tractor trailers will still require local roads for deliveries in the downtown area. Traffic entering 3rd Street from points west will not be diverted by a bypass.
An intersection traffic safety study in Oakland initiated by the State Highway Administration (SHA) from 2011 through 2013 noted there were just 18 accidents at six separate intersections. Two involved pedestrians with one of those attributed to a failure to yield right-of-way. One incident involved a truck at 9th & Oak St. with the cause unknown.
Potential Negative Economic Impacts
The Oakland Bypass or Ninth Street Extended (truck route) has been revisited many times since the 1970s. Each time it has failed approval until 2007. SHA and MDOT have designated $1 million for a new design study with hopes of lowering the cost and justifying the expense of a new bypass. Additional funding will be required for an updated environmental impact study as well.
Interractive Traffic Map
Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and State Highway Administration (SHA) have an online, interactive map that allows you to zoom in and see details of specific traffic monitored sites.
The map opens to a full, state view. Zoom toward Garrett County and then toward Oakland. A series of dots will mark locations that you can click on to see details such as type of vehicle and volumes recorded.