Traffic circle planned at hazardous joining of Taneytown routes Roundabout to channel motorists around island

June 06, 1996|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

A traffic circle will replace a flashing light at the troublesome intersection of Route 140, Old Taneytown Road and Antrim Boulevard in Taneytown, state highway officials said.

The traffic circle or roundabout will channel motorists counterclockwise around a central island at the intersection, which was the site of 24 accidents between 1989 and 1993.

Work on the $460,000 project has begun and is expected to be completed by August.

Maryland's first roundabout in Lisbon has been so effective in reducing accidents that the State Highway Administration is replicating the circle elsewhere, officials said.

Taneytown's circle will be the first on a state road in Carroll County; Monroe Avenue in Eldersburg is the only county road with a roundabout, officials said.

The decision to replace the flashing light that gives Route 140 traffic the right of way was based on accident counts, said John Concannon, an acting assistant district engineer for traffic for the SHA.

Thirteen of the 24 accidents were right-angle or broadside collisions, he said.

"Historically, roundabouts have been proven to reduce [these] types of accidents," Concannon said.

Roundabouts reduce broadside collisions by forcing motorists to merge into the same lane that goes around the circle, instead of crossing the path of other motorists. Drivers yield to traffic already in the circle.

Concannon said the Taneytown City Council and residents have reacted favorably to the traffic circle.

"Residents and the council really embraced the idea whenever we presented it to them," he said.

The road configuration of Route 140 at Route 832 has been a problem for motorists because it is where four roads meet, and a fifth road enters Route 140 close to the intersection.

Route 140 bears right into Taneytown and becomes East Baltimore Street at the blinking light at the intersection. East Baltimore Street becomes Route 832 east of the light.

South of the light -- and straight across from Route 140 before it bears right -- the road becomes Antrim Boulevard.

Sells Mill Road meets Route 140 less than an eighth of a mile west of the intersection.

Taneytown Mayor W. Robert Flickinger said he has received few comments about the intersection improvement. Some residents have asked only about who has the right of way in a circle.

Such was not the case in Lisbon. The SHA met strong protests from residents when it installed a roundabout at Routes 94 and 144 in Lisbon, a small community south of the Carroll-Howard line, in 1993.

Residents there have since embraced the circle.

The island in Taneytown's roundabout is expected to be planted with flowers and low shrubs. The island will not have room for a commemorative statue, Concannon said.

"This isn't like DuPont Circle," he said, referring to the traffic circle in Washington. "This is a much smaller version."

The SHA has promised to transplant surviving flowers and plants from the existing triangular islands to the traffic circle.

Taneytown Garden Club members have planted ornamental grasses, the herb coreopsis, black-eyed Susans and other flowers in the islands.

Pub Date: 6/06/96

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