Route 32 exit ramp replaced

September 02, 1994|By Matt Ebnet | Matt Ebnet,Sun Staff Writer

It's been about a year since the State Highway Administration closed the Route 32 exit ramp to U.S. 1 in Savage because too many cars were getting hit while nudging their way into traffic.

The State Highway Administration replaced that ramp with an intersection that includes a traffic light for vehicles coming off TTC Route 32 -- a change that pleases highway officials and residents.

Accident figures are not available for 1994, but in 1993 there were three ramp-related accidents, two that happened before the July 1993 closing of the ramp.

That's down from as as many as seven rear-end or sideswipe accidents per year at that same place before the closing of the ramp. The ramp took traffic from eastbound Route 32 onto busy southbound U.S. 1.

In July 1993, SHA officials replaced the ramp, directing traffic from Route 32 instead into a "T"-type intersection with U.S. 1, where motorists must wait at a light before turning.

That adds some commuting time but is safer, said Gene Straub, an assistant district engineer for the highway administration.

"I think what we've done has been very good . . . for safety and traffic," said Mr. Straub. "It looks like there's been quite a difference so far."

There are some problems, among them the two lanes of traffic, including many trucks, waiting at the light to take right turns onto U.S. 1.

Bill Waff, head of the Howard County Community Association and the Savage Community Association, is generally pleased with the changes. But he also said that traffic coming down U.S. 1 is too fast and hard to see for motorists turning right at the intersection's red light.

And, he said, the big, slow trucks making turns at the intersection or trying to get across U.S. 1 to a nearby industrial park make the intersection all the more inconvenient, if not dangerous.

"They're the ones that worry me," said Mr. Waff, who lives in Savage.

But that's just fine-tuning, said Mr. Straub. Officials won't reduce the speed limit on the U.S. 1, he said, but they will put up a sign prohibiting right turns from the left lane of the intersection.

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