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Father Hurley Boulevard grows, namesake 'very much alive'

Monday - 8/8/2011, 5:34pm  ET

WTOP/Kate Ryan
Monsignor Hurley speaks at Monday's ribbon-cutting. (WTOP/Kate Ryan)
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Kate Ryan,

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. -- His name has been in hundreds of WTOP traffic reports, but the namesake of Father Hurley Boulevard likely remains a mystery to most area motorists.

The Rev. Leonard Hurley -- who is now Monsignor Hurley -- is the founder of Germantown's Mother Seton Parish. And unlike many monikers attached to landmarks or memorials around the D.C. area, the bearer of this one is "very much alive."

"I want to clarify something," Hurley joked at a Monday ribbon-cutting for the final extension of Father Hurley Boulevard in Germantown. "I'm not dead, I'm very much alive. I just celebrated my 80th birthday."

Hurley was very active in the community when he first came to Germantown in 1974, and he is now chaplain at the Carroll Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Northeast D.C. He was one of the early proponents of road improvements for what was then a more agricultural Germantown.

The first section of Father Hurley Boulevard was opened and named for him back in 1987. The area has grown so much in the years since, Hurley joked he had trouble finding the site for Monday's ribbon-cutting.

He also keeps his sense of humor about being featured in so many traffic reports, saying he hears he's "backed up every morning."

"I keep telling my nurses, 'I think it's a private matter, they should leave it alone!'" he said.

The $11 million extension that opened Monday links Germantown's Wisteria Drive to Maryland Route 118, tying two communities together with a bridge over the CSX tracks used by freight trains and MARC commuter traffic.

Some area residents worry the new extension will mean longer wait times getting out of their driveways. Others, including Montgomery County Councilmember Craig Rice, say they're thrilled.

Rice calls the roadway "the Granddaddy Expressway", explaining his father often comes to babysit Rice's two daughters and will now have a quicker trip.

He also added that his wife will have an easier time getting to the Chipotle restaurant in the Germantown Town Center, one of her favorite places to grab a bite.

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