Gravel mine owner will improve road

Nearly 200 truck trips expected on Horsehead Road every day

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007

The company planning to build a gravel mine in Charles County is being required by the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works to make improvements to one of the roads that its trucks will use in the county.

A group of Brandywine residents had protested that Horsehead Road would not be able to handle the 200 truck trips that the application for the Rock Hill Sand and Gravel Mine estimated would make on the road every day from the mine to a processing plant in Brandywine.

The Charles County Department of Planning and Growth approved the application for the mine, to be located near the intersection of Malcom and Covington Roads, on Dec. 12.

Charles County is not bound to consider the impact that a project will have in Prince George’s County.

But Susan Hubbard, spokesperson with the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works, said that the applicant would have to make improvements to Horsehead Road to gain approval for a hauling permit it filed with Prince George’s.

‘‘As part of the permit process, he has agreed to do some improvements to the road,” said Hubbard, who declined to discuss specific improvements because the agreement has not been finalized.

Virginia Stallings, acting president of the Greater Baden-Aquasco Citizen’s Association — the group that opposed the routing of the trucks — said that the improvements were a step in the right direction.

‘‘That certainly would be something to help correct some of the danger that’s there at Horsehead Road,” she said. ‘‘Anything would be an improvement over the way it is.”

At a hearing on the gravel mine in November, GBACA member Dorothy Borras had testified that trucks turning onto Route 381 from Horsehead Road would create dangerous conditions because of a blind curve. Another GBACA member, Francis Winterwerp, told The Gazette that he believed Horsehead Road did not have the load-bearing capacity to handle 200 trucks per day.

But there do not appear to be plans to address the trucks’ use of the intersection of state routes 381 and 382, another crossing that some GBACA members said was too sharp to be safe.

The county Department of Public Works does not have authority over state roads.

In a review of the applicant’s traffic study, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) suggested that the trucks use a different intersection. But the SHA cannot change the routing of the trucks because the trucks would not directly access the state’s roads.

‘‘I don’t believe that the roads in this particular project have plans for expansion in terms of the state,” said Steven Foster, chief of the Engineering Access Permits Division with the SHA.

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