Officials seek 'spot' improvement at Route 32, Johnsville intersection

Krebs, Howard meet with state highway officials to press for additional lane

October 27, 2011|By Katie V. Jones

Just like the cars that often wait in queue at the intersection of intersection of Route 32 and Johnsville/Bennett roads in Eldersburg, a proposal to add another lane there might have to wait behind other projects all across the state.

State Delegate Susan Krebs and County Commissioner Doug Howard met with a representative of the State Highway Administration on Thursday, Oct. 27, at the intersection to pitch the idea of adding a designated left turn lane on Route 32 northbound.

The spot is just north of Liberty Road, where multiple northbound lanes narrow down to one in each direction heading north. Currently, Route 32 north has a left through lane and a designated right turn lane to Bennett Road, while it's one lane only in the southbound direction.

Krebs, who represents Sykesvillle and Eldersburg as the state delegate to District 9B, said the intersection is "dangerous," especially in the evening when there is "a lot traffic going through."

"There is no way to handle the traffic," Krebs said. "Everyone gets stacked up and … take(s) the right-of-way from someone else when they violate the lines and use the right turn lane. People just don't wait."

After a preliminary look, the state agreed it could be possible to make improvements at the intersection — but funding for the engineering and construction of an additional lane would be competing with similar projects across the state, from Ocean City to Garrett County to Baltimore, said David Buck, an SHA spokesperson.

"This was not a full study," Buck said after the meeting. "It was just to see if it was feasible.

"Yes, it could happen," he said, "but now you need funding."

Buck guessed that the project could cost between $1.5 to $2 million, plus other costs such as signage, rebuilding the signal and other expenses.

"It is not only adding pavement," Buck said of the lane addition. "It affects other things."

Krebs noted that this project has nothing to do with the widening of Route 32 south of Liberty Road. That long-term fix has long been among the county's priorities for state highway funding.

But Krebs said a fix at Johnsville would ultimately mesh with any larger widening project.

"This is not one to go on a wish list," Krebs said of the intersection upgrade. "This is spot improvement …improvements we can make to align with future improvements."

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