Wicomico County Officials: Barren Creek Road Options Are Limited - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Wicomico County Officials: Barren Creek Road Options Are Limited

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Washed out remains of Barren Creek Road. (Photo: WBOC) Washed out remains of Barren Creek Road. (Photo: WBOC)
Washed away portion of Barren Creek Road in July. (Photo: WBOC) Washed away portion of Barren Creek Road in July. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.- Since a severe storm washed out a section of Barren Creek Road in mid-July, Wicomico County officials have been reviewing the options to reopen the road, County Executive Bob Culver said Tuesday. 

A privately-owned dam was destroyed during the rain event, and rushing water from the nearby 11,000-acre watershed completely washed out the road, according to officials. Complicating the situation, the land under and surrounding the road was never owned by the county, but by a private citizen. 

Culver said he’s been in discussions with the landowner to see if he’s willing to donate the land in order to get the road repaired.

“We cannot do anything without this property owner’s consent,” Culver said in a statement. “We know that the only other property owner on Barren Creek Road doesn’t want the road reopened. The other, who owns the pond and the dam, doesn’t live in Wicomico County and as of now, his intentions are unclear.”

Environmental concerns are another huge issue, Culver said. “The state of Maryland has a lot of concerns, and we understand they don’t want the dam rebuilt. But if our state legislators are willing to work toward that end, and find the funding necessary to get it rebuilt, I will certainly welcome that approach.” 

Culver said there are at least three options to consider: 

  • Rebuild the dam to current dam safety standards and rebuild the road. Estimated cost: $4 million
  • Forgo the dam but install fish passage pipes to allow the water to flow under the road and fish to spawn in the creek. This option wouldn’t restore the pond, but the county could do some wetland restoration. Estimated cost: $500,000 to $750,000
  • Make permanent cul-de-sacs on each end of the road and let the natural flow occur as it is today. This option could also include building wetlands in the pond bottom. Estimated cost: $50,000 - $100,000 

Culver said that all options, however, will require cooperation from the private landowner. 

Neighbors in the Delmar Road and Barren Creek Road area remain split over whether the area's "short cut" should be repaired.

"For me, it's not heavily used," said Mark Brackett, who has lived just off Delmar Road for 11 years.  "I know some people who use it.  It's more of a little shortcut between Old Railroad and Delmar Road.  I think the money can be used elsewhere."

Other neighbors, who spoke with WBOC but did not wish to be formally interviewed, said they are in favor of making repairs to the road.  There is even a facebook group that has been created, Save Barren Creek Road and Pond, with close to 200 members that are in favor of seeing the necessary repairs made to the road.

Barren Creek connects U.S. Route 50 and State Route 54 in the northern part of Wicomico County, and while it only has two home on it, it is used as a shortcut for some local traffic, Culver noted.

Since the historic storm events in July and August, county road crews have been busy inspecting and shoring up roadways that were impacted by the amount of water that has drenched our area, according to the county executive.

“As the county executive, it’s my job to weigh all the options, and ensure that upgrades to our infrastructure makes sense to all taxpayers,” Culver said. “We do what we can with our limited road funding resources. We are looking at all possible alternatives for Barren Creek. We welcome public input and hope we can find a resolution.”

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