Find an agree­able route

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

A col­lec­tive sigh of re­lief was heard ear­lier this month Charles County Com­mis­sioner Amanda Ste­wart (D) an­nounced that heavy con­struc­tion equip­ment needed for a Prince Ge­orge’s County project would not be bar­rel­ing through the Pine­field neigh­bor­hood in com­ing months.

In March, the Pine­field Civic As­so­ci­a­tion con­tacted Ste­wart and the Mary­land In­de­pen­dent, to ex­press con­cerns about how Roll-Lift Inc., a heavy-load car­ry­ing com­pany, was propos­ing to ship con­struc­tion ma­te­ri­als weigh­ing more than a mil­lion pounds and truck­loads as long as 20 feet from the Aqua­land Ma­rina in Newburg, up U.S. 301 all the way to Mat­ta­woman-Bean­town Road, turn­ing right at that in­ter­sec­tion, then head­ing down Pine­field Road, tak­ing a left onto Pinewood Drive and then on to St. Peter’s Church Road to­ward Brandy­wine in Prince Ge­orge’s County. The equip­ment and ma­te­ri­als are part of the Keyes Power Plant cur­rently be­ing con­structed in our neigh­bor­ing county.

Pine­field citizens, rightly so, were con­cerned about the im­pacts the truck­loads would have on their neigh­bor­hood — any­thing from mail­boxes hav­ing to be moved, to citizens hav­ing to move ve­hi­cles off the road­ways, to noise and other in­con­ve­niences. When we first heard about the pos­si­bil­ity of tons of equip­ment wend­ing its way through the nar­row Pine­field streets, we were in dis­be­lief. How did any­one think this was a good idea? Why was the county govern­ment not no­ti­fied that this was a pos­si­bil­ity un­til the civic as­so­ci­a­tion alerted us and their county com­mis­sioner?

In speak­ing with Roll-Lift, we learned the com­pany was fol­low­ing state reg­u­la­tions, and that the orig­i­nal planned route of tak­ing U.S. 301 nearly all the way to the Brandy­wine des­ti­na­tion would re­quire the haulers to cross bridges that would need sig­nif­i­cant re­in­force­ment in or­der to han­dle the mas­sive weight of the loads. We credit Roll-Lift with hear­ing the citizens’ con­cerns and look­ing to other av­enues.

But still, this begs the ques­tion: If not through Pine­field and not up U.S. 301, how will the equip­ment reach its des­ti­na­tion? The heavy haul will have to go through Charles County some­where. Some other com­mu­nity will be af­fected. Since the equip­ment is com­ing by ship, a large body of wa­ter needs to serve as the main ship­ping lane and that leaves the Po­tomac and Patux­ent Rivers as the main ar­ter­ies. Some­way, some­how, this haul is likely go­ing through Charles County. All we ask is that the citizens and county govern­ment be in­formed and in­cluded through­out the process to find a new route. Peo­ple are go­ing to be af­fected. If they are shut out of the plan­ning, they are less likely to be agree­able to any dis­rup­tion of its daily lives.

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