California, MD — St. Mary’s County opened up FDR Boulevard with a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday as well as a commissioning ceremony for two new STS buses.

“The story behind this road is that in 1985 the (St. Mary’s) County’s Comprehensive Plan called for an FDR Boulevard,” Commissioner Todd B. Morgan said as he started the ceremony’s welcome. “Through a number of starts and finishes it was in 2010, the board of county commissioners authorized the money to begin to build the road.”

Morgan detailed that in the beginning, the road was to be a four-lane road, then it became a neighborhood connector road. He explained that as the economic needs, zoning, regulations, and state permits have changed and been battled out, designs to the project have changed to evolve to the community’s needs.

Morgan explained in an interview with TheBayNet.com, after the ribbon cutting, that FDR Boulevard is an answer to the ever-growing traffic congestion due to the areas rapid economic growth.

“This area has been growing by leaps and bounds for years.”

“We haven’t built a road in the last 25 years — the last road we built was Peg Road.”

Morgan gave credit to all of the commissioners and public servants who worked diligently on the project throughout the years saying the project’s success is a team effort. He also mentioned the board’s appreciation and thankfulness to the construction companies, Great Mills Trading Post and Locust Lane Farms.

“This is a testament to the resiliency of the board and its ability to recognize the needs of this community,” he said. “We’re in the development district — this where the growth is going to occur by law, by rule, by design, et cetra.”

He explained the board identifies where the amenities are within the County to support what the citizens need for the long-term, and he said: “This road is only one piece of that.”

He said the event was a good team show. He was thankful to Bay District Volunteer Fire Department for bringing out the flag and the trucks as well as to the news media and the County’s public information officers.

“I hope everyone enjoys this road because Commissioners get credit for all of the things that go bad and none of the things that go good,” he said in jest. He followed with, “This is a good thing for the commissioners to take credit for — what has happened in the last eight years and what is to come over the next four.”

Department of Public Works and Transportation, John Deatrick, said in an interview after the ceremonies that there are many different projects that the Department of Public Works and transportation has in the works and Allen Settle is the project manager for the FDR Boulevard project.

Deatrick said although Settle came to him for some advice and questions, Settle has carried the bulk of the project in his role.

“(Allen Settle) did a great job in delivering this and he’s working on the future phases will get us up to Peg Road,” John Deatrick said. “He has totally carried the ball on this one.”

He said some of the obstacles the FDR Boulevard project team has come up against has been trying to figure out how to engineer an aesthetically pleasing design with consideration to issues like stormwater.

“We are trying to make it attractive while trying to come up with an innovative way to handle the stormwater,” he said. “It has been a big issue for us — and trying to minimize the impact on the adjacent area.”

“The design of (FDR Boulevard) is called a ‘complete street,'” he said. He explained that phases further down the FDR Boulevard project are still under design with the same considerations.

“We are trying to deliver a neighborhood street that will also carry a heavy volume of traffic,” he said. “People need and want (FDR Boulevard) to be a relief from Three Notch Road.”

He said he is grateful for the design elements that not only include a road that supports heavy traffic volume but safe pedestrian walkways and bike paths for the community around it.

“Let’s not forget we also replaced three old buses with more than 600,000 miles on them with brand new buses today,” he said. He added the buses replaced served the community well and were well maintained.

“Jackie Cormier runs (the transit system) and also supervises the mechanics that keep up the buses but all the sheriff’s vehicles, all our highway maintenance vehicles,” he said. “It takes a major team to keep these things going.”

He said the Maryland Transit Administration worked with the St. Mary’s Department of Public Works and Transportation to get the citizens the new buses.

All elected officials and county departments in attendance were in good spirits and shared the satisfaction with the team efforts resulting in a job they felt was well done.