The St. Mary's County Democratic Central Committee expects to approve this week the nomination of John L. Bohanan Jr. to fill the state legislative seat recently vacated by former state delegate John F. Slade III.

Slade, a Democrat from Leonardtown, resigned from the House of Delegates when he was appointed a District Court judge.

Bohanan, 41, is the district director for U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D), who represents all three counties in Southern Maryland and parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George's counties.

"I have devoted almost 20 years to working in the legislative process at the state and federal levels and I believe I have a lot to offer," Bohanan said. "I certainly understand the district very well, the needs of the Navy bases and natural resources and the environment and the people."

Bohanan ran in 1982 against Slade for the then new District 29B legislative seat, carved out by redistricting. He was the sole applicant to fill the three years remaining in Slade's term. Under state law, the party of the legislator vacating the office nominates a successor.

After this week, the St. Mary's Democratic Central Committee will forward its nomination to Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D), and party leaders expect he will make the appointment official.

Charles's Transportation Wish List

Please hurry with the Hughesville bypass.

That's the message from Charles County's commissioners and state legislators to Maryland's transportation secretary.

In a recent letter to John D. Porcari, the elected officials called the bypass "a top regional priority to accommodate the Patuxent Naval Base expansion and to eliminate severe traffic safety problems."

They asked for funding for design work and right-of-way acquisition in fiscal 2001, which begins next July. "It is very critical to the region," the elected officials wrote.

As long as they had Porcari's attention, the elected officials took the opportunity to present something of a wish list. They asked for state assistance to develop and design terminals to connect bus service to the Potomac Riverjet, a proposed commuter boat that would travel the Potomac River.

Other requests, mainly for planning assistance, centered on Route 210 in Charles County, the intersection of Routes 301 and 5, and the Cross County Connector, which is to connect Route 5 with Route 210.

Officials also asked for help with the intersection of Radio Station Road and Route 488, near the Board of Education's central offices in La Plata, several schools and several new housing subdivisions. They called the intersection hazardous, and said it needs to be rebuilt soon.

Bridging an Economic Divide

Chesapeake Beach Town Council members and business owners met with the Maryland transportation secretary Monday night to discuss replacing an older bridge, a change that could bring more boat traffic to the Calvert County town.

After listening to residents' concerns, Secretary John D. Porcari advised local officials that they would have to persuade county commissioners to make the issue a county priority before the state can take action.

The bridge in question crosses Fishing Creek. It is more than 50 years old and has a clearance of little more than 10 feet, Chesapeake Beach Mayor Gerald Donovan said. The Transportation Department made some improvements to the bridge this past summer, but it eventually will have to be replaced, the mayor said.

That would cost several million dollars, although no specific figure has been decided, Donovan said. Chesapeake Beach officials have a vested interest in the project because the town holds the mortgage on the largest marina on the other side of the bridge. A higher bridge would allow larger boats or vessels with antennas and other structures on top to reach the marina.

"As the town grows, the bridge has become an impediment," said state Del. George W. Owings III (D-Calvert), who arranged the meeting. "No one I have talked to in the past many months has objected to raising the bridge. . . . It's hindering development west of the bridge."

Dave Sisson, head of the town's traffic study committee and owner of Fishing Creek Landings marina, said the 75-foot-long bridge also poses traffic problems. He called it a bottleneck for both boats and cars--the bridge makes up the narrowest section of Route 261, the town's main artery. Sisson said his committee found that more than 20,000 vehicles drive across Route 261, and about 400 boats pass under the bridge every day.

In all, about half a dozen marinas and several restaurants are upstream from the bridge. Raising the structure by a few feet would allow more boats to bring business to the town's waterfront commercial area.

"Many of us see the bridge as the key to traffic flow in town and to continued economic development," Sisson said. "The town just won a smart-growth award, but we have a bridge in town that's an obstacle."

The next step is to meet with county commissioners on the issue in hopes of making it a county priority, Donovan said.

Staff writer Hannah Allam contributed to this report.