The community is invited and encouraged to attend a State Highway Administration meeting about the proposed overpass at Routes 301 and 304. It will be held in the cafeteria of Queen Anne’s County High School on Tuesday April 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The public meeting will include visual displays of the project, a presentation given by SHA, and an opportunity for public comments and questions. “We are urging citizens to come to the high school for this meeting, and that would include those in the western part of the county as well,” said County Commissioner Phil Dumenil. “This is a county wide public safety issue and we need this over-pass.”
“Please help us keep this as a top priority for state funding,” said Niki Pino, who along with Barb Burkhardt and Jenn Fitzmaurice formed the grass-roots group Support Overpass 4 Students which has gleaned thousands of digital signatures on an online petition at change.org.
Pino is hoping for a large community turnout April 30. “Your voice counts. Over 5,600 citizens and students have signed petitions in support of this overpass. This is a community project and Support Students 4 Overpass needs your continued support.”
The group formed in the wake of the tragic death of student Conner Rice who died at that intersection in 2011 on the way to Queen Anne’s County High School. Since 2005 there have been five fatal accidents at the cross over intersection of Routes 301 and 304.
“Too many lives have been lost,” said Pino. The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners, Support Overpass 4 Students and many local residents diligently lobbied the state to make this project a top priority for state funding. In addition to school buses and students, about 17,500 vehicles travel along Route 301 daily, with a significant portion being large tractor trailers, according to a 2012 press release from the Governor’s Office.
As a short term solution the State installed a J-turn at the site, and then last summer the project took a significant leap forward when Governor Martin O’Malley announced that the state would invest $7.8 million for the design of an overpass. The planning phase is expected to take about two years, and construction funds have not yet been earmarked. “The grass roots group Support Students 4 Overpass needs your support,” said Pino. “Join us at QAC County High School on Tuesday April 30,you have a voice.” Public comments are scheduled to be heard from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.