I-83 project challenges drivers Detour: Construction on Baltimore-Harrisburg Expressway has made life more difficult for commuters in Northern Baltimore County. BTC

The Intrepid Commuter

September 14, 1998

BEEN NORTH OF Hunt Valley on Interstate 83 lately?

That's where you'll find a 10-mile, $3.4 million resurfacing project under way, marked by lane closures, detours and milled pavement.

Such work has created anxiety for many who live in God's country and rely on the Baltimore- Harrisburg Expressway as their fast link to civilization.

One driver, Jim Anthony of Sparks, said the detours add to a touchy situation for drivers of Upper Glencoe Road near its intersection with York Road in Hereford. There, drivers speed around a blind curve, and that has led to many near-miss situations, Anthony said. His solution: A mirror to help decode the road's bend.

But the overall problem may not ease until late summer 1999, when the I-83 resurfacing project is expected to wrap up. Included are patching, resurfacing, new pavement markings, rumble strips and guard rails. Work is being done by Redland Genstar Inc. of Towson.

It's all part of a facelift for the highway that carries thousands of vehicles daily. State Highway Association traffic counts show Shawan Road alone holds 47,584 vehicles daily, while Middletown Road, at the northern end of the project, has 24,075 vehicles daily.

For now, expect single-lane closures on northbound and southbound I-83 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Next year, construction will move south to the Shawan Road exit ramps.

"We ask for patience, particularly with the ramp closures," said SHA spokesman Dave Buck. "It's been at least 15 to 20 years since it was repaved -- and it's that time again."

Crews add lanes to Annapolis roadway

Drivers on Riva Road in Annapolis know the place as fender-bender and traffic-jam hell.

The main drag that leads into the historic district is a magnet for commuters who approach from all directions and, at times, make it confusing to navigate.

Business parks, mega stores such as Sam's Club and Home Depot, a huge mall and Anne Arundel County offices fill the area. In all, it's one gigantic cry for help.

Enter county traffic engineers, who have recently added left-turn lanes in both directions from the U.S. 50 interchange to Admiral Cochrane Drive in hopes of easing the problem. Crews started well before dawn on many days last week laying the new markings on the horrific highway.

But relief won't stop there.

Officials tell Intrepid One that parts of Riva Road are slated to be completely repaved next spring. In the meantime, county types hope the new lane markings will help establish a new, safer traffic flow through the area that parallels Interstate 97.

With scads of development there, Intrepid remains skeptical. Time will tell.

Speed humps expected to sprout in Baltimore

Look for speed humps, those not-quite bumps in the road, to sprout soon in Northeast Baltimore on Sipple Avenue between Moravia Road and Frankford Avenue.

The long, curving street in Goodnow Hill, just north of Sinclair Lane, has been a cut-through for many commuters, and residents want to hamstring speeders.

Across town, on Lake Avenue, between Charles Street and Bellona Avenue, residents are seeking petition signatures for humps there -- the scene of cut-through commuters at both rush hours.

Easy fix is no fix for Howard commuters

Ellicott City's infamous U.S. 40 and Ridge Road intersection is angst city for many drivers and, amazingly, SHA officials recently made the place worse.

For starters, the intersection is confusing, to say the least. Drivers on Route 40 have four points of access -- a pair of eastbound lanes, a pair of westbound lanes, and two pairs of left-turn-only lanes.

On Ridge Road, there's a median crossing and three sets of traffic lights to befuddle even the most experienced driver.

A few weeks ago, SHA crews took down some overhead signs there in favor of painted "must turn" directives in the lanes.

Chaos set in.

"Last week, I had to avoid hitting some poor confused soul in the left lane who came to a dead stop on green in the middle of this busy intersection," says commuter Brenda Stup. "I've lost count of the number of near misses [and one that didn't miss] that I've observed at this location. Maybe the SHA should give all the residents helicopters. Or maybe it would be cheaper just to fix the problem."

SHA officials have no plans to reconfigure the intersection, said spokeswoman Valerie Burnette Edgar. They may tweak problems there by changing the timing of certain traffic signals, she said.

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