YEAR IN REVIEW: Route 589 project ends going nowhere and no money to get there

(Dec. 28, 2012) Changes to Route 589 were proposed in the early 1990s, when a citizens advisory group was formed. In 1998, the county commissioners passed the first Route 589 plan, basing the right-of-way on a 100-foot corridor.

A task force was formed to study short-term improvements such as lining up the 7-Eleven intersection with Cathell Road, which was done.


2009: Work to develop the Route 589 Corridor Vision Plan began in 2009, after the State Highway Administration proposed scenarios for the entire length of the road from routes 50 to 113, and held public comment sessions in Berlin and Snow Hill to get public opinion.

October 2010: The county commissioners conceptually approved the plan, subject to review by the Department of Development Review and Permitting. The plan called for Route 589 to be a four-lane divided boulevard with lanes for bicyclists and paths for pedestrians. Crosswalks were also planned at the Ocean Pines South Gate.

October 2011: The commissioners voted not to approve the state plans for Route 589 because of concerns that property owners might be unable to develop their land. They said the SHA’s proposal to have a 160-foot-wide right-of-way would have taken away property rights.

November 2011: SHA planners agreed to determine what could be done to make improvements to Route 589 while keeping its 100-foot width or expanding the width to 111 feet.

October 2012: State Department of Transportation officials told Worcester County Commissioners that the department was out of money for the project, but could look at it in more detail when money is available.

Also that month, Greg Slate, director of Planning and Preliminary Engineering at the State Highway Administration, wrote to the county commissioners to say that the SHA might need to conduct a detailed analysis, similar to the ones held in Berlin and Snow Hill during the first visioning process. Until then, he and others could “coordinate with other areas within SHA to investigate opportunities for short-term improvements for motorists, bicycle compatibility measures, and pedestrian facility improvements.


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