From Save the Rocks:
ROCKS, MD Jan. 28 — In response to citizen complaints, the State Highway Administration today removed workers from MD 24 in Rocks State Park who had been drilling for soil samples and cutting trees along the hillside just south of St. Clair Bridge Road. Residents complained the work was unnecessary if the SHA had put a stop to a plan to blast rocks along the roadway.
Deborah Coomes, who lives near the park, said her husband, Mike Coomes, heard a chain saw in the morning and went out to see what was happening. He said the road had been closed “to cut down a fairly large tree in order to get their drilling and blasting equipment high up on the hillside in a new location.” Coomes then went to the state park office, where staff told him they were unaware that trees were being cut down and that they were only told by SHA this morning that they needed to close the road to “move some equipment.” Assistant Park Manager Tina Bianca sent word to the crew requesting that no more trees be cut.
Save The Rocks chairperson Deborah Bowers emailed and then called SHA in Annapolis and urged that they immediately cease operations on MD 24 and that SHA acknowledge on their website that plans to blast rocks in the park and move the road would not be going forward. She received a call back from project managers who said they would consider the request to recall the work crew. Bowers, who had also contacted Sen. Barry Glassman, later received an email from him that “work has stopped.”
An email to Bowers from SHA project manager Jialin Tian later stated: “We apologize that trees and branches were cut down while the contractor was locating the equipment for the drilling for the soil investigation. SHA has requested the contractor to suspend the work and remove equipment from the site. We are looking forward to working with the Advisory Committee to develop new alternatives that improve the roadway safety and minimize the impact to the natural resources in the area.”
Bowers said it was unfortunate the drilling work, which is known to be prerequisite to blasting, was allowed to go on for weeks when the SHA had claimed the road plan would be revised “to address the concerns of citizens.”
“The SHA has given residents good reason not to trust them, and that’s really too bad,” Bowers said. “For weeks, people have had to put up with seeing heavy equipment digging into the hillside, damaging the environment, full well knowing the plan had been called off.”
Bowers will be serving on a Rocks Road Advisory Committee created by Harford County Councilman Chad Shrodes, which will begin meeting in February. Deborah Coomes was also appointed to the committee, as well as Brian Goodman, all members of the Save The Rocks campaign group which is made up of local residents. The group has a Facebook page called Save The Rocks.
Debbie Rose says
SHA project manager Jialin Tian later stated: “We apologize that trees and branches were cut down while the contractor was locating the equipment for the drilling for the soil investigation. What’s next? We apologize that the blasting has been completed and the hillside is demolished…while we had everyone thinking we were reconsidering the project. Oops, we’ll blame it on the contractor!
Just another example of the quality of people in government today. God help us all if the get their hands deep into out heath care.
They’ll be removing legs to cure the common cold.
You people dont know what you are talking about. First off no one was removed from the job site, and second the fairly large tree was less than 8″ in diameter.
When I came through the park between 7;45 and 8:00 am there was equipment sitting on the side of the road, but there were not any workers in sight. So either they had been called off the work site or had not arrived yet. I tend to beleive Senator Glassman.
well they didnt shut the road down till 900am so yea “WE” were not on site yet and if you believe a politian somethings wrong with you
Why so angry, young man?
vietnam vet says
It was ”only” A tree. 8 inche’s in girth. hard wood tree would take at least 30 years to regrow. no concern for the environment or wild life.After all it’s only a ”Tree”
Steve(a different one) says
Fix the road before it ends up in the Creek making a bigger environmental disaster. If river bank reinforcing and blasting are necessary, then so be it. I am sure these goals can be accomplished in a manner consistent with the preservation/enhancement of the park. It’s not like the hillside wasn’t blasted once before to build the road.
The problem was that the original SHA plan had no river bank reinforcement in its plan, only blasting. This would eventually lead to the creek continuing to erode. The mission of “Save the Rocks” is by working with SHA to create a more environmental solution for the long term.
Steve(a different one), that’s the entire idea of the Save the Rocks campaign [of which I am a member] – to accomplish the river bank reinforcement in a manner consistent with the preservation/enhancement of the park.
The original SHA didn’t address streambank stabilization at all, which is curious considering the $9.25 million in funding was provided for a “slope protection” project.
He hillside was blasted before – when the automobile was invented and when the locomotive can blazing through the East Coast.
Would you put the current need for a wider, straighter [faster] commute for southern Pennsylvania drivers on par with those other instances?
The streambank needs to be repaired before we go around blowing anything up.
If Sean says he was at the worksite and no one was kicked off, I would to believe the working man rather than Senator Glassman.
I agree with Steve, fix it before the road gets worse.
But do you agree with fixing the road at all costs, literally?
The problem is the streambank erosion, the SHA plan does nothing to address that. And $9.25 million in taxpayer money is an expensive Band-Aid.
Who is arguing about whether it was shut down or not?
There are photos of the equipment being packed up and moved away and SHA said no work (other than guardrail) will continue until the Task Force meets. What’s the argument?
OH PALEASE! You people are nuts! You’ve complained about this project, and asked that the impact to the rocks be mitigated. Now, they have engineering to do to propose a change and do a “stream restoration project” which necessitates the collection of soil samples for for structural analysis and you’re completely thrilled with yourselves.
I thought the purpose of yall showing up to the canceled meeting a week or so ago was to “work with SHA, and develop alternatives, not scream and shout and shut it down.”
CLEARLY, that was a blatant lie for the group yall have created, as the majority of posts are to shut a century old road, and make it open for pedestrians, horses, bikes, and no motor vehicles. Come on. You guys going to oppose the proposed shopping center at box hill with such vitriolic energy?
Really? Yall done bumped your collectivist, environmentalist heads.
AND, like I said in an earlier article posted by the Dagger, where are the people in Mr. Shrodes’ group that are FOR this project? I mean, we should all be fair and have equal say correct?
John Paff says
Aaron how is danielle doing? care to explain why you are for this project instead of just attacking people? for the record the save the rocks campaign wants the road to be safe, because we all use it. however we want it done right! My family spends almost every weekend at the park hiking tubing and fishing. I’ll be there for the start of trout season feel free to join me. We will work with SHA to ensure everything is done correctly. Do you even live in Harford County or do you still live in Parkville? It’s obvious you have a dog in this fight, but have failed to inform us why.
Aaron, I don’t believe that anyone is screaming and shutting anything down. Obviously anyone that posts on this board is able to post their own opinions as shown by your post. SHA has be collecting soil samples since before they decided to put the project on hold so many people voiced their concerns on why SHA was still continuing to spend taxpayers money on a project that might not go ahead as planned. The rural areas in this county need to be preserved until the legacy is swallowed up into an extension of Baltimore City. If you can’t enjoy the small bits of nature left in this county then maybe you would be better living somewhere more urban. Yes I like to preserve as much as I can, call me enviromentalist if you want, but I would like to save as much as I can for my children and their children. I am a second generation owner of 116 acres, which use to be normal in this county and now is a rarity.
Aaron, what’s nuts about inquiring about why SHA is cutting down trees after the agency said it was postponing the project until November? The DNR rangers a block away didn’t even know or approve of SHA removing trees.
These soil samples have absolutely nothing to do with any alternative streambank stabilization options because SHA hasn’t even started working on those revisions.
Cooperation is a two-way street, Aaron. Save the Rocks [of which I am a members] said its wants to work with SHA, and SHA said it wants to work with Save the Rocks. Then SHA started clearing trees without notifying anyone. Where is the goodwill on their part? If the tree-felling absolutely had to occur, why wasn’t anyone (including DNR) notified?
The blatant lie was SHA saying it was holding off on all work until the Task Force could meet.
Frankly, Aaron, I’d think someone of your collectivist, political leaning would salivate at the chance to save $9.25 million on a project that is not wanted or needed.
As for Shrodes’ group, I’m on it. So is SHA and DNR.
If he’s in desperate need of someone in favor of indiscriminate, unnecessary detonation over well-reasoned, researched preservation, I’ll know just who to recommend.
Kellie Arnold says
Ok, so you all really need to look at the proposal that the state is proposing..not to ruin the park but to preserve the road so that no more hazards come to it.. such as cars crashing into the river and polluting it. The workers were doing their job. they didn’t destroy the trees..the cut one tree..Asking for friend requestes for people that do not live in the area and have NO idea what is going on is not the was to get things done…do your research people..
Kellie, the states plan was not to preserve the park in the long run as can be evidenced if you actually read the proposal. They wanted to move the road with no plan to stabilize the streambank. If people drive the speed limit there is no one “crashing into the river”. Many of the people that have joined the group use to live in the area,have connections to the area or are environmentalists. Maybe you are the one that needs to do your research as you apparently don’t know much about the situation yourself.
Kellie, based on your incorrect assumptions about this project I question your own research into the plan.
“Preserve the road?” What does that even mean?
The road will be torn up, moved 20 feet through solid rock, widened, and straightened. The only thing that will be preserved is the 25mph posted speed limit, but no one pays attention to that now, so why are we assuming a wider, smoother, straighter road would be a slower and safer one?
This project has nothing to do with cars polluting the creek.
No one is claiming all 8,000 online supporters are following every twist and turn in this story, but what’s more dangerous – blind support of a plan to give more study and research to a plan or blind support of blowing things up?
You guys are totally unbelieveable who else can jump on the banwagon and not have a clue. I guess it is fine for people to wreck their cars as the antifreeze flows into your drinking water maybe a few people, kids etc. could die would that help you to relize that there is a problem with the road. You people just bitch to have something to complain about. Maybe if your wife, husband or child got killed you would change your mind amd realize the work is being done so people can admire the Rocks for years to come just as we have done for years we live here and travel the road you dont. Do your jobs guys we support you 100% make it safe for my child to drive on that road and be able to make it home to me that night. Thank you for fixing this major problem.
Nancy, again….people will not wreck into the creek if they drive the speed limit. I have driven through the park for almost 30 years with no issues myself. SHA had no plan to stabilize the streambank…only to move the road. If the road was widened and straightened there is the potential for more accidents because the same people that could not go the speed limit before will feel the need to go faster because its an easier road to manuever. If you don’t feel like nature in its greatest form is to be saved at some point then maybe country life is not for you. Some of us live out here for a reason not because we want to live in the city extended.
This is awesome. The anti-opposition movement was out in full force last night.
I fully understand that this situation is really all about economics. With the project stalled, contractors aren’t getting paid, people may be losing their jobs, etc. I get that. I’m sorry if that’s the position you’ve been put in.
But you don’t just go around blowing up historic/recreational areas without first exhausting all other options. Hell, SHA didn’t even complete the requisite environmental impact study for this project.
I’m similarly sorry if a loved one of yours has been injured in the park. The posted speed limit is 25mph and that is rarely adhered to now. A wider, smoother, straighter road is only going to be faster. And the ice, water, trees, and wildlife aren’t going away, they will remain obstacles on the road. There will just be more and faster traffic.
The “major problem” here is the erosion on Deer Creek, something the SHA plan literally turns its back on – choosing instead to move the road away (through solid rock).
There’s a difference between a bandwagon and a movement.
If you don’t see the difference yet, you soon will.
I have done some… not all of the homework, but I do know what is happening in my backyard and I have seen to much to harm lives and the rocks preservaton. . that if the state wants to make a better road, and see what is going on by testing the area I should allow that to happen. it is called progress.Heard of it???
Yes Kellie I certainly have heard of progress. The testing had zero to do with SHA deciding what other plans they could use. Before “Save the Rocks” came into the picture they were not planning to use any type of streambank stabilization just move the road. If you don’t have any problem with standing around meekly while they do whatever they want with what is left with this county then that is your choice but it is not mine. Kellie, I live less than 2.5 miles from the north end or Rocks state park. I do the speed limit as does my husband. It is funny that those same people that complain about potential wrecks are the first to admit they are not following the speed limits or don’t believe others should have to either. Obviously I have been on another planet then you, back when Harford County was a rural county.
you know Lorrie..If you really live in the area..when is the last time you saw someone drive the speed limit..any were???? and if you have well I think you live on a different planet!!! Again can we say progress??? It has to happen sometimes!!
Kellie, you’re right, no one drives 25mph through the park now.
But why do you think a wider, smoother, straighter road is going to slow people down?
No one is trying to stop progress.
But blind progress just for the sake of progress is idiotic and harmful.
And in this case, ends with someone blowing up an historic local treasure.
Stabilize the streambank so the road can be repaired without having to blast the Rocks. It’s a pretty simple solution.
Mama Mia! says
WHY do so many people end their sentences with multiple question marks and exclamation points!!!!!?????
(It must make their sentences more exciting or more questioning!?)
My concern is not anybodys commute I dont truely care how long it takes anybody to get anywhere. Lori, I am sure you are a smart woman are you concerned at all that Deer Creek is a tributary source of the Susquahanna River and the Chesapeak Bay. The project at hand is to divert the polution and preserve the good status of Marylands natural resources. WAKE THE FUCK UP PEOPLE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, just one more thing for now every person has gone over the speed limit at one time or another people make stupid decisions everyday and if anybody says any differant you are a liar no matter what the reason we have all done it. Stopping this progress screws our Bay so Lori do your homework and realize it.
Nancy, yes I am naturally aware the the water from Deer Creek does eventually trickle down through our bay. If you main worry is pollution as has never been a discussion in the “Save the Rocks” I would be quite a bit more worried about the CAFO getting ready to be built in Southern York county. I have suggested and provided many types of erosion control methods that have no negative impact whatsoever on Deer Creek which have been used in many other streambank erosion programs, apparently it is easier for you to resort to personal attacks then to go back and read. Continuing erosion will damage our streams but obviously despite the fact you mention the watershed you don’t mention any solutions to the problem other than to curse at people and make random statements that don’t make sense in the context you have put them in. How was the “project at hand” going to divert the pollution? Not at all….they were only going to move the road not secure the streambank. If you do not stop the erosion common sense tells you it is going to continue happening. I have never stated that I certainly have never sped in my life, I merely said that I do the speed limit through the Rocks and I will continue to. I have respect for the nature that is surrounding me and would like to retain it for my children in the closest to natural form I can.
Lorrie: You make sensible observations. I totally agree with you on every point you make. Remember when Bel Air was rural? Now it is like York Road in Towson, if not worse. And it’s pushing it’s way farther and farther into the rural areas. Posters like Nancy and Kellie are very immature for not being able to voice their opinions and hear others without being vulgar. And they are totally tuned out to what anyone else has to say. Besides, their logic or illogic as the case may be, is irrational. If they drive through the Rocks like they write, I hope I’m not behind them when they wreck and drive into the water polluting it with anti-freeze.
Nancy, is it necessary to use profanity? You are acting like a spoiled child not getting her way. I have family who live in the Rocks area and not once have I seen a car go into the creek spewing antifreeze everywhere. You watch too many action movies. And stop posting if you can’t be civilized.
The man did wreck his car and it flipped into the water. Banning trucks is a good idea as Ritchie stated. Stabelizing the streambank is a great solution to help stop the problems now and further problems. But as it stands now with the workers being takin off the road didnt help to fix anything. The problems are still very much real.So how about we all grow up and stop the attacks and just voiceing opinions and make solutions known to the people that matter and make them listen. If my language offends anybody then skip my post it is America. But one more thing Blue I hope your not behind me either I would rather have you in front of me.
When was the accident at Nancy? I do not remember any accident like this in the last decade or so. The issue with taking the workers out of there was that SHA was saying that they were stopping the work yet still working behind our backs. That is not a good way to work together when one organization is being deceitful from the beginning. Those workers were taking soil samples for the old project(something that should have been done a year or so before making the final plan to dynamite). SHA went in to this project without a lot of information or planning which was definetly a concern of myself.
Nancy, the project at hand doesn’t even mention the word “pollution” (or “polution”), and it is not designed to preserve the good status of Maryland’s natural resources.
The SHA project, at its heart, is designed to widen, flatten, and straighten Route 24 so southern Pennsylvanian truckers and commuters can have a straight shot into Bel Air without having to be diverted to Route 23 or 543. That’s it, plain and simple.
Harford County residents shouldn’t be willing to sacrifice their history and unique landmarks just to satisfy the frustration of suburban commuters and out of state truckers.
Stopping this project does not “screw our Bay,” in fact, quite the opposite. SHA never conducted the required environmental impact study for the project and has only recently agreed to go back and do so. There are also stormwater runoff issues that haven’t been fully examined, to say nothing of the blasting itself.
There are ecologically-sound ways out there to stabilize the streambanks of Deer Creek that will provide habitat, slow water flow, prevent erosion, protect the River and Bay, AND allow Route 24 to be fixed without having to blast away unique local history.
I’d recommend you review the plan yourself Nancy before chiding anyone else.
Phil Dirt says
Your own story (dated 12/10/09) says, “The project is needed, according to SHA, because Deer Creek is scouring away at its banks and creeping dangerously close to Route 24 as it winds through Rocks State Park. In some places, this erosion has caused utility poles and traffic barriers to lean. In other areas, it has led to cracked pavement and pooling water. Eventually, SHA contends, without stabilization of Deer Creek’s bank or a shift of the road away from the encroaching waterway (and through the solid rock on the other side), the safety of motorists traveling along that section of Route 24 (currently at a pace of 5,850 vehicles per day) could be jeopardized.”
Now you say, “The SHA project, at its heart, is designed to widen, flatten, and straighten Route 24 so southern Pennsylvanian truckers and commuters can have a straight shot into Bel Air without having to be diverted to Route 23 or 543. That’s it, plain and simple.”
Plain and simple? Since this is stated as a fact, where is this documented? Or is this ‘creative journalism’ as we would expect from a certain paper-based news outlet?
The first story was the reason they were doing it. SHA originally talked about stabilization for fixing the road. Their proposal when you read through it had no stream stabilization at all, they planned to move the road up to 20 feet towards the Rocks instead and leave the streambank as is. SHA’s plans and goals for this project have never quite met up and entirely made sense.
Mama Mia! says
Nancy; You shouldn’t use profane words like “F#%K” in “The Dagger”! This here forum is for “distinguished” opinionated folks.
I am going to repeat myself ! This beautiful road should get bank repairs and NO rocks blown up. Erosion control should be put in place. This is not a necessary truck route…nor is it necessary as a high speed route.
Go Dagger !
My concern is for fixing the road. It has become dangerous. I was not aware that they are moving it. I have not seen that in the proposal that the state posted. I don’t want to see any thing happen to the park either. However sometimes these things have to happen. As for the facebook friends 8,000 and strong. I truely don’t believe that not all persons on that page are aware of the full scope of the situtation. I have spoke my postion without being vulgar. I have simply stated that progress happens…
Kellie, the original SHA proposal before “Save the Rocks” stepped in was to only move the road. There was no plan to use erosion control methods on the stream bank. Obviously the streambank is going to continue to erode over time. The plans that “Save the Rocks” have developed focus on both fixing the road with minimal impact on the actual Rocks and protecting the streambank by utilizing streambank erosion controls. These erosion controls would prevent further erosion which in turns flows down the Creek and would maintain the Park in a condition close to what it is currently in. If Rocks was straightened out there would be people that would feel that they had to drive faster and with the lack of policing in the Rocks there would potentially be more accidents. HarCo residents have stepped in a many times to save what we were able…such as Kilgore Falls. As for Facebook, whether or not all those people know the full scope of the situation or not I can’t say, but they are able to read all the documents available such as the original plans from SHA, newspaper articles from different sources and meeting information.
Kellie….restore some bank…..leave the walls alone.
Mttts…erosion control matts…made in Aberdeen are whats needed. 1. build the banks in areas where the road has been eroded… 2.restore the road..
3. Ban trucks…(and I’m a trucker)
Go Dagger !
Phil Dirt come back to dagger and state some more facts great posting before. I agree with you and enjoyed your posting.
Lori I am sorry I dont have a specific date for you to be able to google it. But it is a fact not just an opinion like half of the stuff on this page. You apparently have a lot of time on your hands look it up.
Since you have not been able to verify any of your claims to this point, I will assume that this is another one of the mistruths, unless you can prove any of your stories. Obviously the comment sections following the newstory is opinion, what were you expecting it to be? I am not sure exactly what point you are trying to prove with that comment. I am sure the government loves people like you that blindly follow every decision that they make with no questions to the reasoning.
vietnam vet says
Progress happens thru Bungling, it’s apparent we have people who care less about Harford Countys, Natural resources. I’am with RichieC. repair the stream beds. & reduce the erosian.
On the other hand just blast the Hell out of every thing & make it and express way.
jimmy stillwell says
each time I pass through The Rocks at Deer Creek is a solemn reminder of it’s past and present effect on any of us who grew up passing through it’s sacred ground…it’s a reminder to me that progress is not always in the best interest of our ‘touchstones’ …reminders of who we are, where we live and how we live…honoring the monuments made by Nature not the men on giant machines…
this tranquil stretch along Deer Creek needs no scars as it grows long in the tooth…yet still is the same to many of us.
The SHA document on file calls for daily traffic to grow from 5800 vehicles today to nearly 20,000 in 20 years, assuming the proposed roadway re-design enabled by blasting into the hillside. So, it is clear that SHA, whose job is moving traffic – not environmental protection – is planning for an onslaught of PA commuters and trucks through the Park. That’s the Grand Plan, and we are fortunate to have an opportunity to change it.
The SHA document on file calls for daily traffic to grow from 5800 vehicles today to nearly 20,000 in 20 years, assuming the proposed roadway re-design enabled by blasting into the hillside. So, it is clear that SHA, whose job is moving traffic – not environmental protection – is planning for an onslaught of PA commuters and trucks through the Park. That’s the Grand Plan, and we are fortunate to have an opportunity to change it. Kudos to “Save the Rocks” and The Dagger for catching and publicizing this for us.