The proposed Oakland bypass/Ninth Street Extended project will be the topic of a special public meeting being hosted by the mayor and town council of Mountain Lake Park at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 7, in the community room of the Southern Garrett County Rescue Squad building located at 200 Baltimore Avenue, Mountain Lake Park.
A number of top officials from the Maryland State Highway Administration and Maryland Department of Transportation will be in attendance to answer questions and respond to concerns about the project, for which preliminary engineering studies are already under way.
While the municipal government of Oakland has supported this project for many years, the governing body of adjacent Mountain Lake Park has been generally opposed to the proposal and was ready to formally oppose the project in writing several years ago, Mayor Don Sincell noted. Just prior to making that opposition official, the project was essentially dropped because of funding issues.
“While we certainly do not begrudge the mayor and council members of Oakland for their majority support of this project, the members of our council and many other citizens of our town have expressed a wide variety of concerns, as the proposed roadway will essentially be located on the western border of our town,” Sincell said.
“Many of our residents work in Oakland, and for many of them, the route to their jobs is going to change rather significantly, as will the access to several of our schools, particularly Southern Garrett High School."
"Traffic flow in general on Maryland Highway and Oakland Drive is going to change radically. We felt it was our responsibility to at least provide a forum for persons to voice those concerns to the people in charge,” Sincell continues.
Among the state highway officials who will be in attendance are Sean Johnson, the project manager; Scott Pimento, director of the Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering, MDOT/SHA; and Tony Crawford, district engineer, District 6. A number of other support staff are also expected to attend.
The meeting was originally going to be held at Mountain Lake Park Town Hall, but there was concern that the hall would not be able to accommodate the number of people who may be in attendance.
“It is important to note that this meeting is for all interested citizens, not just the residents of Mountain Lake Park,” Sincell said, “and persons who are in favor of the project are also certainly welcome to come and express their thoughts and opinions.”
Those who wish to ask questions and/or make comments will be required to place their names on a list upon their arrival at the meeting. Speakers will be asked to limit their questions/comments to three minutes. The meeting will be adjourned no later than 8 p.m.
As published in the Garrett County Republican.