Just when North Chevy Chase residents thought they were gaining ground in their fight to eliminate Capital Beltway-bound traffic from their neighborhoods, a new obstacle has arisen that may jeopardize their hopes.

Maryland's State Highway Administration presented the Village Council with a plan last week to restrict southbound traffic from Kensington Parkway to Connecticut Avenue and suggested if that plan does not pass, the agreement between the village and the highway administration to build a ramp to the Beltway from Connecticut Avenue also may be canceled, council Chairman Edward Asher said.

The council reached the agreement last month with the highway administration to build the ramp, which residents have been requesting for at least 15 years. The ramp would remove the need to use Kensington Parkway as a Beltway entrance and would reduce traffic through the neighborhood. The highway administration agreed to finance the project in 1985 and build it in 1986, Asher said.

The highway administration told the council it wants to link the two projects, and opposition to the traffic pattern change may abort the Beltway entrance modification, Asher said. The traffic change sparked concern in the village because the only bus route to downtown Washington probably would be moved from Kensington Parkway to Connecticut Avenue, and residents would have to cross Connecticut Avenue to take the bus, Asher said. The traffic change would also force more traffic onto Beach Drive and residential streets in the village, he said.

Nearby neighborhoods, such as Rock Creek Hills, are likely to object to the traffic restriction because it is an inconvenience to them as well, Asher said, and their opposition may endanger the Beltway ramp project. The council will ask the highway agency to consider dropping its proposal to link the two projects.