Leonardtown, MD — Every year the Commissioners of St. Mary’s County send a letter to the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) listing road priorities in the county. This year’s letter will list the same three priorities that have been around for a number of years: The Thomas Johnson Bridge, Route 5 in Leonardtown and the bottleneck intersection in Great Mills.

The commissioners discussed what to put in their letter at their March 22 meeting. They agreed with Public Works and Transportation Director George Erichsen to praise the state for funding planning and design. But they added the concern about construction monies. The letter will say, “We are somewhat concerned that no construction funding is shown in the five-year program and trust it will be added once design is underway

Over the weekend Del. Deb Rey voiced concern that a bill (HB 1013) which passed the House on Saturday could impact funding for the Great Mills project. She called the Maryland Open Transportation Decision Act of 2016 “a purely political bill.’ She said, “The bill mandates MDOT create a scoring process for each major highway or transit project – with the projects scoring the highest getting the priority. If the MDOT secretary or governor decide to fund a lower priority, the opposition party will use it against them. St Mary’s County will lose funding for the Great Mills Road/Route 5 intersection because it will not score high enough. The Consolidated Transportation Plan process works well today and does not need to be changed. I voted against this bill.”

In addition to touting the three major road projects, the commissioners also listed a number of other smaller projects which are either ready for construction or slated for it. They include the Clements intersection roundabout and Route 5 at Point Lookout,

The commissioners’ letter also supports the town of Leonardtown’s request for the state to extend the sidewalk retrofit project all the way to Leonard’s Grant Parkway. They note the new school and future library, senior confer, middle school and park as all contributing to the need for a sidewalk for pedestrian traffic.

The letter also highlights the need for sidewalks in the Lexington Park area, and if funding is available for Route 4 from Wildewood Parkway to the entrance to the Walden Sierra facility.

Also at the insistence of Commissioner Mike Hewitt [R -2nd District] language will be added to the section on the Thomas Johnson Bridge expressing concern about the difficulty Woodland Acres residents are having navigating onto Route 4 over the newly constructed acceleration lane.

Contact Dick Myers at dick.myers@thebaynet.com