By Vanessa Junkin
Although sections of the new road won't be open until the entire project is finished, State Highway Administration officials said last week that a roundabout in the southern end of town, located near Wolf Hill Drive just south of Hampstead, will open in late August.
To accommodate the roundabout, the existing leg of Route 30, which will later be called Route 30 Business, will be relocated in August before the traffic circle is put into use.
Once the bypass is open, the roundabout will be used to access both the Hampstead Bypass or the Route 30 Business route. For the time being, though, it will be used simply to keep traveling on the existing Route 30.
The $83.5 million bypass project has been under construction since June 2006.
The bypass is a 4.2-mile highway running on the west side of existing Route 30, and is designed to carry some of the through traffic off Route 30.
When the bypass opens, it will have one lane in each direction.
Ross Clingan, assistant project engineer with SHA, said that by siphoning off some commuter and truck traffic off Route 30, the bypass, "should really improve the quality of life inside the town of Hampstead."
David Buck, a spokesman for the State Highway Administration, said the targeted completion date is now next spring. Favorable weather might enable it to open sooner, but he said it's tough to tell heading into the fall how much crews can get done before bad weather sets in.
In all, three new roundabouts will be installed in the Hampstead area as part of the bypass project.
The second is located where the bypass will cross Route 482 (Hampstead-Mexico Road), near North Carroll High School. This roundabout will be part of a network to exit and enter the bypass, is scheduled to open in September or October.
The additional roundabout, which will open with the completion of the bypass, is at the northern end of the bypass where it connects back to Route 30 in Greenmount.
Over the past 25 months, three bridges -- over Houcksville Road, Shiloh Road and Indian Run -- have been completed, and work on the final bridge, over the Deep Run wetland, is in progress.
SHA officials said some paving has been done on the project, as well as some lighting and storm drain installation. Grading, landscaping, mulching and planting is also under way.
Within the next two weeks, workers will begin to put up noise barrier walls along some parts of the bypass, according to SHA officials.
For more information on the Hampstead Bypass project, call Ross Clingan, assistant project engineer, at 443-508-4360, or Frank McConnell, project manager, at 443-508-4370.
The State Highway Administration produces a newsletter regarding project updates. It can be accessed online at: www.sha.state.md.us/WebProjectLifeCycle/ProjectDocuments.asp?projectno=CL416536