Find answers to road problems

TRAFFIC TALK

June 05, 2005|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IF YOUR E-MAILS and comments aren't complaining about other drivers or your driving dilemmas, then chances are your e-mails are wondering whom to contact for road-related problems.

That our local roads are handled by different government agencies complicates matters. Depending on the problem and where you've found it, you might have to call the State Highway Administration, one of three Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works Bureau of Highways districts, Animal Control or Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.

Complicated enough?

Until the Baltimore-Washington region develops a centralized road information clearinghouse, knowing whom to call depends primarily on whether the road is maintained by the state or the county. Numbered highways, such as U.S. 1, Interstate 895 and Route 32, are maintained by the SHA. Most other roads are maintained by the county.

I recently received a question about overgrown weeds obstructing the view from an exit ramp off Route 100.

In this case, because it's a state-maintained road and the exit is in Howard County, the agency to contact is the State Highway Administration's Dayton Maintenance Facility at 410-531-5533.

If the maintenance question regards a state-maintained road in Anne Arundel County, the call should go to the Glen Burnie Maintenance Facility, 410-766-3770 for numbered roads (roughly) north of the Severn River or U.S. 50, or to the Annapolis Maintenance Facility, 410-841-1009, for roads south and west of the Severn River or U.S. 50.

If the concern is about a county road, you need to figure out which district the road is in. If the problem is in the Northern District, call 410-222-6120; for the Central District, call 410-222-7940; and for the Southern District, call 410-222-1933. To help you figure out which district to call, check out www.aacounty.org/DPW/Highways/RoadDistricts.cfm.

Traffic signals are a common concern. One of the most frequent questions I receive is whom to call for a blown bulb in a traffic signal.

For malfunctioning traffic signals, the answer again depends on who is responsible for the intersection. Traffic signals or other problems at intersections that involve a state road and a county road usually fall under SHA's purview. But there are exceptions. For example, Anne Arundel County is responsible for operating the traffic signals at the intersections of Route 665 ramps and Riva Road and of the Interstate 97 northbound ramp with Veterans Highway.

If the signal is out at an intersection of county roads, the county is responsible. To report a problem with a county-maintained sign or signal, call the Bureau of Highways at 410-222-1940 between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. For after-hours emergencies, call 410-222-8400.

What if a road sign is blocked by trees?

The short answer for numbered roads: Contact the appropriate SHA maintenance facility. For county roads, contact the Bureau of Highways at the numbers given above. But there's a twist: If downed trees or limbs are touching power lines, call BGE at 410-685-0123 because special handling is required.

With so many animals out and about in warmer weather, how to deal with dead animals has been the most popular question I have received lately. Whom to call depends on the type of animal and where the animal is.

Call the appropriate SHA maintenance facility for all dead animals along numbered roads, unless the animals are outside the SHA's right of way. In other words, if the animal is on private property, 15 feet beyond the white line or along a county road, don't call the SHA.

If the dead animal is a deer or a domestic animal, call Animal Control at 410-222-8900 and the agency will have the animal removed.

If the dead animal is a raccoon or other small nondomestic animal, double-bag the animal and place it in your trash can so that it can be picked up with your regular garbage. If you leave it visible, it will be left behind for you to enjoy.

You can also leave the animal wherever it is for nature to take its course, which it will in a few days in summer heat. That's an option if it's not within smelling distance. Or you can bury it on your property, although many neighborhoods have rules forbidding burying animals on private property.

If the nondomestic animal is alive but injured (and potentially dangerous), call Animal Control, which will euthanize it.

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 that area. The police will contact the proper agency to obtain medical care for the animal. Don't call 911. Instead, call the local police department.

What's your traffic trauma? Contact Jody K. Vilschick at TrafficTalk@comcast.net, or mail letters to Traffic Talk, The Sun in Anne Arundel County, 60 West Street, Suite 400, Annapolis, 21401. Please include your full name and contact information or your comments will not be published or receive a response.

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