Transportation Goal 7
A new highway facility will be constructed to reroute traffic moving across the Potomac from the current route through the center of town to a new route along the northern margins of the community in order to relieve congestion along local streets in town and more efficiently move traffic through the region.
7.1 Identify Alternate Highway Routes
STRATEGY: Work with the Hagerstown / Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization (HEPMPO) to prepare a study of alternative routes for a new highway connection to the Potomac River crossing.
JUSTIFICATION: The confluence of traffic and its channelization through the core of the community has a disrupting effect on the town and its residents, and is a negative influence on the town’s quality of life due to the additional traffic congestion, safety impacts of large volumes of traffic and increased air pollution associated with truck traffic traveling through urban areas. Therefore, it is imperative that the town begin work on planning and securing funding to provide an alternate route that would take the majority of through traffic around the town instead of through its core. Developing an alternative highway route around town to the Potomac River crossing is a regional scale project that the town would have difficulty undertaking on its own given the complexity of the project.
7.2 Promote the Rerouting of Highway Traffic
STRATEGY: Actively promote the need to reroute traffic from the historic core of the community to reduce congestion and improve safety.
JUSTIFICATION: Given the size and scale of such a project, significant public support, from both residents of the community as well as commuters and other users of the current route, will be necessary to secure political backing at higher levels and ultimately funding of this project. A clear and concise public outreach strategy that identifies the benefits to all parties will be necessary to gain that support, and should be developed in conjunction with planning for a new route.
7.3 Identify Impacts to Existing Businesses
STRATEGY: Work with business owners along the existing route to explore the impacts of rerouting through traffic on their businesses and identify measures that can be taken to mitigate the effects of rerouting traffic.
JUSTIFICATION: Business owners along routes that may see declining traffic volumes due to the development of an alternative transportation route that bypasses them are often the most outspoken critics of such projects given the potential impacts associated with reduced customer traffic. Proactively working with potentially affected businesses to determine the true impacts, and looking at mitigation measures, such as business district signage or maintaining quick access, can help lessen the degree of resistance to change and provide businesses with good forecasts with which to plan for their future.