Cherry Hill Road Bridge Opens to Peaceful Protest

Owings Mills-Reisterstown Patch

The Cherry Hill Road bridge opened today in a ceremony attended by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and several other public officials.

The long-awaited bridge, which had been planned since the 1980s, was completed ahead of schedule, in about two years, and came in under budget, Kamenetz said. It serves as a connection between Reisterstown Road and Owings Mills Boulevard.

"Traffic congestion has been a problem in the neighborhoods between Reisterstown Road and Owings Mills Boulevard for years," he said. "It takes awhile to try and get together, not only the planning, but also the funds to put together a bridge like this."

The county executive was joined by Dels. Dan Morhaim and Jon Cardin, Public Works Director Ed Adams, ROG Coordinating Council President George Harman and representatives of Del. Dan Stein, Sen. Bobby Zirkin and Councilwoman Vicki Almond.

The 513-foot long bridge is the second longest county-maintained structure out of 659 structures, and the longest one built by the county, Kamenetz said.

The project has been in the works for at least 30 years, with the county acquiring the right-of-way and necessary permits in bits and pieces, said David Fidler, spokesman for the Baltimore County Department of Public Works.

The two-lane bridge, a steel girder construction with a concrete deck and stone-form liner abutments, was built by Maryland-Virginia firm Corman Construction, for $6 million. The original bridge budget was $8 million.

The 23-foot high bridge spans a wetland area, a portion of Gwynns Falls and a CSX railway line.

Before starting the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the county executive took a few minutes to speak with some protesters who wanted some face time with him.

About 25 people holding homemade signs, mostly dressed in green, came to protest the water tower proposed for the corner of Timber Grove Road and Bond Avenue. Members of this group were upset the county executive did not attend a meeting of the Reisterstown-Owings Mills-Glyndon Coordinating Council, where the water tower has been discussed.

"We have found it is impossible to get a one-on-one or a two-on-one or an in-person with Mr. Kamenetz, so we've come to him rather than him coming to us," said Bonnie Levitt, a longtime Owings Mills resident.

Kamenetz assured the protesters that nothing is finalized and the county will keep an open dialogue with residents as other sites are evaluated for the water tower.

"We'll meet again once we have some options to debate," he told the crowd.