The federal government program to relocate thousands of jobs to officially , but local residents will face growing traffic problems well into the future, government officials and economic development experts said at a conference held Wednesday.
Especially vexing will be growing congestion and delays on the stretch of local roads that connect Aberdeen’s I-95 exit ramps to APG’s main entrance gate off Route 40, according to Steven S. Overbay, an official with the regional planning group Chesapeake Science & Security Corridor.
Travel time on the 5.6-mile section of Route 22 and Route 40 (see graphic) is expected to increase from 9.1 minutes now to 47.5 minutes in just four years, Overbay said. The travel time estimates are based on commuter rush-hour periods only, but the congestion issues will have broader impact, Overbay said.
Overbay’s remarks came Wednesday in Edgewood at a day-long “Beyond BRAC” conference of regional planners, government officials, defense contractors, and others.
Attended by about 125 local officials and business representatives, the conference was aimed at BRAC’s continuing impact on regional transportation, education and economic development. It was sponsored by the Chesapeake Corridor.
Transportation issues dominated the conference. Overbay described plans to eliminate seven bottlenecks at Aberdeen road intersections that should ease local congestion in the future, and other speakers discussed mass transit and transport funding issues.
Maryland Department of Transportation official Andy Scott, for example, presented the outlines for the new plan for the renovation and reconstruction of the Aberdeen rail station. The plan is designed to make mass transit more attractive to workers at , he said.
The plan—dubbed the—is scheduled to be unveiled to the public of the Aberdeen City Council, he said.
Rail service was also discussed by Andrew Lubin, Director of Real Estate for the University of Delaware.
The university is developing a Science and Technology Campus on the old Chrysler auto assembly plant near the main campus in Newark, DE, he said. Part of the plan is to build a new rail passenger station there and connect with the Amtrak, MARC, and SEPTA rail systems, he said.
This will provide new mass transit options for workers living in the areas northeast of Aberdeen, and connect the new technology centers in Newark and Aberdeen, Lubin said.
However, there are harsh economic realties still to be dealt with, according to a least one person attending the conference. Donald Fry, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee, a regional public-private development group said that transportation funding faces a crisis in Maryland. And there is no obvious source of money for most of the new projects discussed at the conference.
No funding is in place even to complete the seven intersection improvements needed immediately in Aberdeen on Routes 22 and 40, he pointed out.