After the community was informed about “The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration has initiated a project on MD 140 at MD 91 in Finksburg for intersection changes” I decided to reach out to the local elected officials for a few reasons:
- To ensure they were aware of this plan
- To see if they had any comments about the plan
- To ask if they planned to attend the meeting on September 14th at the Finksburg Library
I started by reaching out (on Saturday August 26th with a follow up on Monday August 28th) to the elected officials that represent this specific area: Carroll County Commissioner District 2, State Senate District 42 and State Delegate District 42C. Here is a summary of responses:
- Commissioner Kenny Kiler (District 2): Responded that he saw SHA’s invitation for a meeting and said he would attend. He has asked county staff for an update on the County’s involvement with this project and a complete history of all conversations between Carroll and SHA. That should happen this coming week. firstname.lastname@example.org
- State Senator Chris West (District 42): Responded and stated MDOT had not alerted him to these plans. His staff and he will attend the meeting (he may be a little late). We also exchanged a few additional emails about the project (and I answered to the best of my ability with the knowledge I had of that intersection and area). Chris.West@senate.state.md.us
- State Delegate Joshua Stonko (District 42C): Has not responded yet to either email sent on Saturday August 26th or the follow up on Monday August 28th. email@example.com
I then reached out to the other state representatives that represent Carroll County because this is a high traffic area and residents throughout the county that travel this road would be affected by the YEAR long construction planned for this intersection. I sent emails on Saturday August 26th with a follow up on Monday August 28th to the following representatives:
- State Delegate Eric Bouchat (District 5): Responded with “Thanks for contacting my office. I was a County Commissioner and am aware of the issues regarding this intersection. It takes years for these projects to get moved up into action. It is a positive to be on the list considering we are a County of the minority party. Having a public hearing is very good”. Delegate Bouchat did not say if he would be attending the meeting on September 14th. firstname.lastname@example.org
- State Senator Justin Ready (District 5): Responded on 8/29 via phone. He told me that there were still some questions and concerns about this project. He was unsure if he was going to be able to make the meeting but stated he would have staff there if he could not attend. email@example.com
- State Delegate April Rose (District 5): Has not responded yet to either email sent on Saturday August 26th or the follow up on Monday August 28th. firstname.lastname@example.org
- State Delegate Chris Tomlinson (District 5): Has not responded yet to either email sent on Saturday August 26th or the follow up on Monday August 28th. email@example.com
On Monday August 28th I thought I would reach out to the other four Commissioners in Carroll County (again, because this planned change would affect more than just local residents in District 2). Here is a summary of the responses:
- Commissioner Joe Vigliotti (District 1): Responded that he had seen the notice about the project, but was still trying to gather a little more information about it before providing an official comment about the project. He stated that he did not yet know whether he will be attending the meeting on the 14th. We also exchanged additional emails as I provided some additional details (to the best of my knowledge on the subject). firstname.lastname@example.org
- Commissioner Mike Guerin (District 4): Responded with…I reached out to someone and was told that it is a “state project” and has been in the works for “some time.” He also stated that he has had several local residents reach out regarding this project. That fact alone tells him that there are questions and concerns that need to be addressed. He stated that he will try to attend the meeting. email@example.com
- Commissioner Tom Gordon (District 3): Responded on 8/29: : “Thank you for reaching out regarding the state project. I have asked our staff for additional information relating to the 140/91 project in Finksburg. I am planing to try and attend the meeting“. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Commissioner Ed Rothstein (District 5): Has not responded yet to the email sent on Monday August 28th. email@example.com
On final thing I had on my mind in regards to this project was would it directly affect any bus routes for Carroll County Public Schools? I reached out (on August 26th) to Carroll County Board of Education President Marsha Herbert (MBHERBE@carrollk12.org) and asked if she could check with CCPS to see if any current bus routes came up 140 and took that left at 91. She responded right away and stated she would check on Monday August 28th with the school system. She then followed up on the 28th with the following:
We do not have any county buses that will turn left at the intersection from Westbound 140. We may have special education buses that would make that turn.
We expect that SHA will consult our Transportation Department. That is typically part of their planning process. We’ll be able to provide feedback and work on adjustments as needed.
The one question I forgot to ask (totally my fault) is how many total bus routes go through that intersection? Since “Construction is expected to start in 2024 and take one year to complete” this project could have other adverse affects to not only general traffic in the area bus also bus routes that travel through that intersection (obviously that would depend on the level of impact of the YEAR long construction…which I hope we hear more about on the 14th).
I always appreciate it when elected officials return questions or requests from the community…or media requests (even “light” media like The Observer).
If any of the elected officials above that have not responded do eventually respond to the questions sent on the 26th or 28th, I will be sure to update this article once responses are received.
The Observer plans to visit the intersection over the next couple of weeks to take some photos and videos during the morning rush hour (likely between 8:00am and 8:30am) and the afternoon rush hour (likely between 5:30pm and 6:00pm) to document the amount of traffic in the area (just for further context in advance of the meeting on September 14th).
The Observer also plans to live stream the meeting on September 14th via Facebook (if allowed by the Library and MDOT). I am not sure of the quality of sound in the room for the live stream but will do my best with what we have to work with for that meeting (again, if allowed).
If this is something you have an interest in (for additional information, for support of the project or to oppose this project) I HIGHLY recommend attending on September 14th between 6pm and 8pm.
Make sure you read this article for additional details: