Worst intersections in Howard Co. identified

October 09, 1994|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Sun Staff Writer

U.S. 40 and U.S. 1 have some of the most dangerous intersections in Howard County, a transportation study says.

But Howard officials say that recent construction projects have improved safety at two of these roads' intersections that are the county's very worst.

The intersection of U.S. 40 and Normandy Woods Drive was listed as the worst in Howard County from 1990 through 1992 in a county consultant's report that was released last month.

The report on highways was part of Howard County's Comprehensive Transportation Plan. It ranked 27 Howard County intersections according to the number and severity of accidents during the three-year period.

At Howard County's worst intersection, by the Normandy Shopping Center, there was one fatal accident, 11 accidents that caused incapacitating injuries and 38 other accidents reported to police.

The second worst intersection was at U.S. 1 and Whiskey Bottom Road in North Laurel, where there were seven accidents that caused incapacitating injuries and 43 other reported accidents.

But these two intersections have been trouble spots for some time, and some work has already been done to improve them, said Carl Balser, chief of the Howard County Transportation Planning Divi- sion.

"We're keeping pace better than I hoped we would," Mr. Balser said.

Since the end of the study period, the State Highway Administration has added two lanes to U.S. 40 at Normandy Woods Drive and changed the timing of the traffic light there.

The extra lanes continue on U.S. 40 through the intersection at Rogers Avenue, which is listed in the study as Howard County's 10th-worst intersection, and Ridge Road, the fifth-worst intersection.

Mr. Balser said the second worst intersection -- U.S. 1 at Whiskey Bottom Road -- has also been improved, with a re-timed traffic light, a new road surface and new pavement markings.

Now that the problem intersections have been identified, the traffic consultant is preparing recommendations to improve safety, Mr. Balser said.

Some of those recommendations are expected to be ready in time to include them among Howard County departments' capital budget requests, due at the end of this month, he said.

The Howard transportation chief said it appears many of the problem intersections can be fixed inexpensively, using such things as new guardrails, new signs and better lane markings.

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