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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


New OP medical center reignites traffic concerns

(Oct. 29, 2015) Offering the largest and densest population in the county, Ocean Pines is a prime target for businesses and services. The only drawback is access.
Route 589, the major connector between routes 90 and 50, is ripe for development and has added a number of facilities over the years. The road itself, however, is almost entirely a two-way throughway that lends itself to delays, short stops and frazzled emotions.
A new facility opened by Peninsula Regional Medical Center collecting a number of medical services has picked the scab off the debate, but, in the end, there isn’t much that can be done.
“Realistically I don’t think there will be funding until 2030,” Commissioner Chip Bertino said. “We submitted 589 as one of our priority projects to the State Highway Administration recently, but the dualization of [Route] 113 remains a top priority.”
Formerly an annual process, the SHA occasionally solicits counties asking them to define priority projects. For many years, and continuing this year, the dualization of Route 113 has been the sole defined project in Worcester County.
According to Development Review and Permitting Director Ed Tudor, the SHA no longer reminds counties to submit projects on an annual basis, but he suggested the commissioners sent a letter anyway during the most recent meeting of county government last week.
The commissioners unanimously agreed to keep Route 113 as their sole formal request, but included several additional informational items, including replacing the Route 50 drawbridge in Ocean City, dualizing Route 90 from the Route 589 interchange to the resort, and expanding Route 589.
“With money anything can be done, but the best we can do now is monitor traffic and monitor the SHA to ensure all parties are engaged,” Bertino said. “It’s my impression that everyone is engaged.”
For their part, the SHA said their own hands are tied to a previous study of Route 589 patterns conducted some years ago, but pointed towards a Nov. 10 meeting with county officials to outline concerns.
“We can only mandate things like right-in, right-out where the business frontage is concerned,” explained David Buck, spokesman for the SHA. “Clearly there is a cumulative effect above and beyond what we can do.”
Buck said projects are evaluated on an individual basis, and the SHA must work with each developer on individual projects.
Worcester and Wicomico counties are scheduled to meet with transportation officials on Nov. 10 to evaluate a six-year plan, Buck said. Previously, the meetings with Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset were each held on the same day, but Somerset’s was held last month instead. No reason for the change was given.