PRINCESS ANNE — Construction of a hanger at the Crisfield-Somerset County airport along with improvements to benefit pedestrians join a long list of priorities being forwarded to the Maryland Department of Transportation for inclusion in the state’s Consolidated Transportation Program.
Each year local governments are asked to submit letters outlining transportation projects they feel are the most pressing. The County Commissioners voted to attach four more requests under the category of "System Preservation" with the hanger now number seven among "Enhancements."
The commissioners had requested $500,000 from the state for a new eight- or ten-unit hanger and last year received $300,000 for the project originally estimated to cost $550,000. The amenity is viewed as a way to promote economic activity at the airport which is used by the aviation program at UMES and as an unmanned aircraft test site by the University of Maryland.
County and city leaders also find businesses interested in locating in Somerset County utilizing air transportation more frequently whether it be for product delivery or for transporting company officials. The latest airport layout plan includes the proposed hanger and it has already been approved by MAA and FAA.
Leading the list of enhancements again requested by the county are:
• Completion of the hiker-biker trail from Marion to Westover;
• Construction of a deceleration lane on Crisfield Highway in front of Westover Dollar General for motorists turning onto Fairmount Road;
• Widening of the intersection of West Post Office Road and Somerset Avenue in Princess Anne;
• An acceleration lane on U.S. 13 north of Md. Rt. 667 near Pocomoke;
• Improved vehicular access on U.S. 13 at Stewart Neck Road in Princess Anne; and
• An engineering study for the dualization of Crisfield Highway.
New to the System Preservation category is resurfacing of the parking lot at the state rest area in Princess Anne. Patches have been paved but a complete job will especially benefit not only the county tourism office but the soon-to-open Burgess Rural Living Center.
A few years ago the state installed pedestrian signals, sidewalks and crosswalks on Mt. Vernon Road across U.S. 13. County Engineer John Redden said now the same needs to be done at the Deal Island Road intersection.
Additional enhancements for pedestrians endorsed by the county are sidewalk improvements in Crisfield to benefit Woodson Elementary School and the construction of sidewalks in Princess Anne to benefit Greenwood Elementary School.
Mr. Redden said these could be earmarked as Safe Route to School projects which would make them eligible for special funding while benefiting the entire community. A Safe Route to School demonstration walk to WES from the former Whittington School site was held May 4 to show its feasibility.
County Roads Director Woody Barnes said MDOT and State Highway Administration officials will be in Somerset County to meet with the commissioners this fall about the priorities.
Some of the other bullet points repeated in the request letter include implementation of a plan for an effective ferry between Smith Island and Crisfield to improve service; extending state maintenance on Fairmount Road to the end of Rumbley Road; and formalizing the transfer of a section of College Backbone Road within the UMES campus owned by Somerset County to SHA.
The county also wants electronic signals at all railroad crossings; the widening of Deal Island Road; and shoulder repairs on Oriole Road where there is a severe drop-off from the travel lane.