Highway agency adjusts traffic lights to boost safety at Ridge Road, U.S. 40

January 08, 1993|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

State Highway Administration workers have adjusted traffic lights to help end confusion at a busy Baltimore National Pike intersection in Ellicott City where numerous accidents have occurred.

The change came one day after a pickup truck slammed into a Chevrolet Cavalier, seriously injuring a 22-year-old Sykesville woman Tuesday.

The number of recent accidents at Ridge Road and Baltimore National Pike was not immediately available, but an official with the State Highway Administration said eight occurred there during the first six months last year, and 25 in 1991. None was fatal.

Apparently, a double set of lights at the intersection was confusing to motorists. One set of lights could be seen by drivers from two directions, and when the signal turned green, motorists from both directions sometimes pulled into the intersection and collided, highway officials said. Traffic workers adjusted the signals on Wednesday so that drivers would see only the lights intended for them, said George R. Miller, traffic engineer for the State Highway Administration.

"This is something I felt we could easily do," said Mr. Miller. "All we're trying to do is to just help the motorist from being misled."

Mr. Miller said a citizen called him to report Tuesday's accident, and he decided to review the intersection.

In September, officials attempted to remedy the problem by placing a "This is your signal" sign on the lights facing traffic from Ridge Road. In Tuesday's accident, Janet Evans of the 500 block of Piney Run Court in Sykesville was seriously injured. She was taken by ambulance to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she remained in fair and stable condition yesterday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Ms. Evans was eastbound on Baltimore National Pike when a pickup truck ran a red light on Ridge Road and hit her car broadside, police said. The impact flipped her car, causing it to slide about 125 feet, police said.

The driver of the truck, 58-year-old Richard Hays, of the 500 block of Carlsbad Court in Baltimore, apparently thought the second set of green lights at the intersection was meant for him, police said.

Mr. Hays was not injured, police said. An investigation continues, and charges are pending, police said.

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