State denies traffic light for 140 site Alternatives offered to improve safety CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

February 05, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

State Highway Administration engineers yesterday rejected a request for a traffic light at Route 140, Royer and Meadow Branch Roads, but proposed two other steps to improve safety at the intersection northwest of Westminster.

Two administration representatives met with Mayor W. Benjamin Brown to explain that the intersection doesn't meet any state standards for a traffic signal. They said a light there could increase the number of rear-end collisions.

Mayor Brown proposed the traffic signal after an auto accident at the site last year. The intersection has a flashing light.

The proposed alternatives, which will be submitted in the highway administration's fiscal 1994-1995 capital budget proposal, are:

* Adding a right turn lane on westbound Route 140 to allow cars turning onto Meadow Branch Road to slow down to make the turn without affecting through traffic.

* Creating a "jug handle" off-ramp that would use Old Taneytown Pike to channel left turns and through traffic from Royer Road onto Route 140, 1,200 feet west of the existing intersection. The new intersection would provide better sight distance, said Gene Straub, assistant district engineer for traffic.

The latter proposal would require the highway administration to acquire rights-of-way to connect Old Taneytown Pike to Royer Road and resurface the old road. But Mr. Straub said the advantage is that the plan "would negate the need for a signal for a long time."

Mr. Brown countered that a traffic signal would appear to be a cheaper solution. Mr. Straub agreed, but explained that the highway administration can be held liable for damages after accidents if it could be shown that the agency ignored its own standards and installed a traffic light at an intersection that did not meet those standards.

The Royer Road-140 intersection fell far short of tests for traffic volume, the number of accidents that could have been prevented by a traffic signal, the volume of traffic that stacks up on side roads and the length of time motorists have to wait to get through the intersection, highway agency officials said.

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