Residents of Gorsuch Mill Road are concerned about plans by Baltimore County Department of Public Works (DPW)  to replace the existing bridge over Blackrock Run with a two-lane bridge. This rural road has a very low traffic volume (about 135 cars per day) and little growth potential due to the RC2 zoning and many conservation easements in the area. VPC hopes to work with the county to seek a waiver from the State Highway Administration to allow replacement with a similar-sized bridge, or to find a way to repair, rather than replace, the existing bridge. Recently, residents of Hess Road persuaded the county to repair the one-lane bridge spanning the Little Gunpowder Falls, rather than following through with plans to replace the bridge with a two-lane structure.

Rural residents often view one-lane and narrow two-lane bridges as traffic calmers that contribute to the rural character. The replacement of such bridges with larger bridge spans and approachways tends to encourage more traffic and higher speeds, as well as change the look and feel of the surrounding area. VPC is particularly concerned when such alterations will impact land under conservation and/or historic easement. Baltimore County took a step forward in 2008 when DPW adopted Rural Road Design Standards. Since that time, DPW has helped reduce the width of some new bridges, found ways to repair rather than replace some structures, and utilized a new slurry seal in the resurfacing of selected rural roads. We hope to find a good solution for the Gorsuch Mill Road through collaboration with neighbors and the county.