WHOM TO call with which problem on which road accounts for a good 10 percent of the e-mails and calls I receive.
That our local roads are handled by different government agencies only complicates things. Depending on the problem and where you've found it, you might have to call the State Highway Administration, the county Department of Public Works' Traffic Engineering Division or Bureau of Highways, Howard County Animal Control or Baltimore Gas and Electric.
Complicated enough for you? A centralized road information clearinghouse would make things easier. But until that happens (and believe me, I'm not holding my breath), whom you call depends primarily on whether the road is maintained by the state or the county. Numbered highways, such as U.S. 29, Interstate 70 and Route 216 are maintained by SHA. Most other roads are maintained by the county, although some roads, especially those in townhouse communities, are maintained by neighborhood associations (if so, good luck).
The most recent question came from Paige Morris, who asked, "Who should I call about overgrown weeds that are obstructing the view from the exit ramp from Route 100 eastbound onto Executive Park Drive?"
In this case, because it is a state-maintained road in Howard County, you should contact the State Highway Administration's Dayton Maintenance Facility at 410-531-5533.
Ms. Morris e-mailed a few days after I'd provided her the correct number to call. "As a follow up, I contacted SHA on Wednesday morning and the weeds were gone Wednesday afternoon," she said.
If the maintenance question regarded a state-maintained road in Carroll County, you would call the Westminster Maintenance Facility, 410-848-6565; or in Frederick County, you would call the Frederick Maintenance Facility, 301-624-8251.
Traffic signals are a frequent concern. I also recently heard from Joan Terri, who wondered whom she should call for a blown bulb in the traffic signal just outside her neighborhood.
For missing light bulbs or an otherwise malfunctioning traffic signal, the answer again depends on who is responsible for the intersection. According to Joanne Maxfield, traffic signals (or other problems) at intersections that involve both a state and county road, such as the one at U.S. 29 and Rivers Edge Road, are also SHA responsibility. In that case, contact SHA's Dayton Maintenance Facility at 410-531-5533.
But if the signal is out at an intersection of county roads, the county is responsible. These can be reported to Maxfield at 410-313-3440 or directly to the Department of Public Works' Traffic Engineering Division at 410-313-2430.
What if a road sign is blocked by trees or obstructed in some way? Short answer for numbered roads: Contact the appropriate SHA maintenance facility. On county roads, contact the Bureau of Highways at 410-313-7450. But if the trees are down or their limbs are touching power lines, call BGE at 410-685-0123 because special handling is required.
With so many animals out and about in warm weather, residents might have a need to report a dead animal. Whom to call depends on the type of animal and where it is found.
Call SHA's Dayton Maintenance Facility 410-531-5533 for all dead animals along numbered roads in Howard County. But if the animal is 15 feet beyond the yellow line of numbered roads, or along a county road, or on private property, do not call SHA. Instead, if the dead animal is a deer or domestic animal, call Howard County Animal Control at 410-313-2780 and it will have the animal removed.
But if the dead animal is a raccoon or other small nondomestic creature, double bag it and place it in your trash can. Leaving it unbagged or otherwise visible will mean it will be left behind.
You might also decide to leave the animal wherever it is for nature to take its malodorous course, which it will do in a few short days in summer heat - an option to consider if your find is not within smelling distance of your home. Or you can bury it on your property, although many neighborhoods have rules forbidding burying animals on private property.
If the animal is alive, but injured, call Animal Control, which will come out to euthanize it, if necessary.
According to the Maryland Drivers Handbook, if you strike and injure (or kill) a domestic animal, Maryland law requires you to immediately notify the police department having jurisdiction in the area where the accident occurred. The police will then contact the proper agency to obtain medical care for the animal. Don't call 911. Instead, call Howard County police at 410-313-2200.
What's your traffic trauma? Contact Jody K. Vilschick at firstname.lastname@example.org, send faxes to 410-715-2816 or mail letters to Traffic Talk, The Sun in Howard County, 30 Corporate Center, Suite 820, 10440 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia 21044.