Ocean City Today

Route 113 exempt from state scoring system

By Brian Gilliland | Feb 22, 2018

(Feb. 23, 2018) Only one of the county’s top priority transportation projects, Route 113 dualization, will escape state-mandated feasibility study, numerous checklists and detailed costs estimates, before moving on to a new scoring system required by legislation passed last year.

All projects with an estimated cost exceeding $5 million are subject to the new scoring system. That includes replacement of the Harry Kelly bridge, dualization of Route 90 and improvements to Route 589. All of these projects are included in the county’s annual transportation priority letter to the state.

Every year, each county submits a list of its most important road and transportation priorities. For years, the county’s only priority project was the dualization of Route 113. With that project approved and construction continuing, Worcester County faced a question it hadn’t in a long time: What projects come next?

For a long time in Ocean City, that question had a specific answer — the replacement of the Route 50 drawbridge leading downtown. However, last year, Mayor Rick Meehan made the case before the county to switch priorities to add lanes to Route 90, the resort’s midtown access point.

Ocean Pines residents have also made a case for improving Route 589, and a project in Snow Hill included in the previous letter was not discussed during the meeting.

All these projects may still be submitted to the state for review, Ed Tudor, development review and permitting director, told the Worcester County Commissioners Tuesday. The catch is, he explained, the projects will not be scored by the state until the preliminary work mandated by the new law is complete.

Tudor said the county has not determined how expensive the feasibility study, checklists and developing cost estimates for the projects are, but that step is not yet necessary.

Tudor recommended including the projects in the state request, but not moving forward until the county had a better understanding of what’s involved.

The commissioners agreed with his stance, and voted to approve sending the letter, including all of the projects, to the state.

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