Traffic circle receives go-ahead Roundabout will be completed by March at Lutherville site

September 14, 1998|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

Hoping to streamline the flow of nearly 18,000 vehicles that pass through a choked Lutherville intersection daily, State Highway Administration engineers say they will install the Towson area's second roundabout in the spring.

The loop -- to be a miniature version of the new landmark at Allegheny Avenue and York, Dulaney Valley and Joppa roads -- will be built at North Charles Street and Bellona Avenue, just north of the bridge that spans Interstate 695 on Charles.

SHA officials hope it will end constant gridlock at the intersection, which has been the site of 10 accidents -- some nearly fatal -- since 1993.

"It's just so dangerous to ease out and take a peek, then there's cars coming at you," said Lisa Cinnamon, a Hunt Valley restaurant manager who drives through the intersection daily from her nearby apartment. "It's crazy now."

Dave Buck, SHA spokesman, said the new traffic pattern will cost about $150,000. Construction is expected to begin in March and take about six weeks to complete.

The traffic circle will be the state's 14th, including the Towson roundabout that opened in January, six in Howard County and one on Wilkens Avenue near the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

"Based on the existing roundabouts in Maryland, our figures show they allow for a 40 percent decrease in accidents," Buck said. "This roundabout will improve the flow of traffic and provide constant movement, the key to a roundabout."

The Lutherville roundabout will affect traffic not only from Charles and Bellona, but from Clark Avenue, a tiny residential side street nearby, and the Charles Street exit ramp off the outer loop of the Beltway, Buck said.

The state decided not to put a traffic signal at the Bellona and Charles intersection because they feared it would create long backups on the Beltway ramp to Bellona between Charles and Seminary Road.

Recently, workers completed a roundabout at the Route 100 interchange in Ellicott City. Other loops are at Routes 100 and 103. Roundabouts also are planned at Route 100 and Snowden River Parkway and at Route 94 and Old Frederick Road.

Buck said the traffic pattern can only help calm the woeful Lutherville intersection, where drivers from Charles routinely barrel through onto Bellona.

"If people coming from Bellona yield to drivers on Charles, it should work better," he added.

Pub Date: 9/14/98

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