Traffic circle construction

A new roundabout at Md. 180 and Mount Zion Road was opened to traffic Tuesday afternoon.

The intersection of Md. 180 and Mount Zion Road, which has been closed since late June as crews build a roundabout there, is expected to reopen in about two weeks, according to the State Highway Administration.

The intersection is on schedule to reopen on or about Aug. 20, two months after it was closed, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said Monday.

Workers did curb and gutter concrete work last week and are preparing to put down a coarse layer of base pavement Tuesday and Wednesday, he said.

Next week, they’re scheduled to install some stamped concrete in the center of the roundabout and prepare to add the top layer of asphalt.

Officials had waited to shut down the intersection until June 20, once Frederick County Public Schools let out for the year, with the work expected to last about eight weeks. Schools are scheduled to reopen on Sept. 3.

It’s not always possible to close a road during a project, but doing so allows contractors to get a lot of work done in a relatively short period of time, Gischlar said.

The $3 million project is being handled by Concrete General Inc., of Gaithersburg.

Some residents questioned the need for a roundabout at an informational meeting that SHA officials held with residents in Jefferson in February 2018.

Officials say the design dramatically reduces the number of crashes, especially so-called angle crashes, which cause more injuries than sideswipes or rear-end crashes.

Since the SHA began installing roundabouts in 1994, there have been no intersection-related fatalities in those areas, according to the state.

Officials tried changing markings, signage and lighting at the intersection, but crashes have continued, SHA District Engineer John Concannon said at the meeting in 2018.

The intersection is used by about 4,000 vehicles per day, according to SHA traffic counts.

Statistics show 20 crashes at the intersection between 2012 and 2018.

There were eight police-reported crashes at the intersection in 2018, according to the SHA.

During the project, drivers on Md. 180 are being detoured to U.S. 340, which runs parallel to Md. 180. Drivers on Mount Zion Road are being detoured to Stone Road to Teen Barnes Road to Md. 180 and back to Mount Zion Road.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP.

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(3) comments

KellyAlzan

So stupid . All that surrounding land. To be developed. And that round about will be a waste of money

DickD

That is a dangerous intersection and cars will now have to slow down. Vision of cars coming from the Frederick side was very limited and the speed of cars left little time for safe crossing.

wran

There were a lot of crashes at that intersection. My next door neighbor was killed there. I saw many drivers whizzing through that intersection not observing the stop sign. And, I saw a lot of teen age drivers who don't regard stop signs as mandatory, just a suggestion.

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