Cars whizzing down Montgomery Road in Ellicott City came to an unexpected halt Friday morning at the previously unencumbered intersection of Brampton Parkway and New Cut Road.
County Executive Ken Ulman gathered with residents about 10 a.m. to flick the switch on a new traffic light at the busy intersection, bringing vehicles to a stop on Montgomery Road, which is part of Route 103.
The light, which cost the county $175,000, was installed by the State Highway Administration.
"Most people have no idea what roads are the state's and what roads are ours," Ulman told a group of about a dozen community members gathered at the new light. "This is an example of us working together."
Concerned about a recent roadway realignment at Montgomery and New Cut, and the opening of Glen Mar United Methodist Church on the east side of the intersection, residents began pushing for a traffic signal last summer. Highway officials initially rejected adding a new signal because they believed there was not enough traffic to warrant it.
Last year, Ulman requested a traffic study, after which SHA changed its mind and determined a new signal was necessary. About 28,000 cars travel that section of Route 103 each day.
The Rev. Andy Lunt, lead pastor at Glen Mar United Methodist, said the light will not only ease traffic congestion during rush hour but make the intersection easier to navigate for parishioners attending Sunday services.
"It's a big day. We've looked forward to it for a long time," he said.
Barbara Shapter, who attends the Glen Mar church and has lived in the Brampton community for 17 years, said she is eager to walk to church. Traffic congestion makes getting out of her development tricky on busy mornings, as well, she said.
"A lot of people don't use their left-turn signal, so I'm sitting there wondering if he [the oncoming driver] is going to turn or go straight," Shapter said.