Find an agreeable route
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.