Mt Zion Project

Workers begin preliminary work as construction begins on a roundabout and other improvements that will shut down the intersection of Md. 180 and Mount Zion Road for eight weeks, beginning June 20.

Construction of a roundabout and other improvements will shut down the intersection of Md. 180 and Mount Zion Road for eight weeks, beginning June 20.

While some preliminary work has already begun, the $3 million project will really begin with closing the road once Frederick County schools have let out for the year.

The intersection is used by about 4,000 vehicles per day, according to the State Highway Administration.

Drivers on Md. 180 will be detoured onto U.S. 340, which runs parallel to Md. 180. Drivers on Mount Zion Road will be detoured to Stone Road to Teen Barnes Road to Md. 180 and back to Mount Zion Road.

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

The construction of a roundabout at the intersection was a contentious issue at an informational meeting that SHA officials held with residents in Jefferson in February 2018.

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

Statistics show 20 crashes at the intersection between 2012 and 2018, according to SHA.

There were eight police-reported crashes at the intersection in 2018, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said in an email Friday.

The state had been looking at the intersection for several years, SHA District Engineer John Concannon told the 2018 community meeting.

Officials had tried changing marking, signage, and lighting, but the crashes continued, he said.

Since the state began installing roundabouts in 1994, there have been no intersection-related fatalities, according to the State Highway Administration.

James Robinson, who works at Engineered Construction at Md. 180 and Mount Zion Road, said he has heard crashes from the window of his office.

He said SHA has kept them informed of what to expect during the construction.

The work will be inconvenient, but it could possibly save lives, he said.

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

(20) comments

CurlyBrian

Could use the new 340 exit into Jefferson Technology Park (AKA wishful Frederick Casino) to Rte 180. Oh, yeah, that subdivision was some backroom deal as Blaine Young left office and has roads not really wide enough for two way traffic. And the bridge is falling down already, anyway. $$$$$

runjdon

I'm a bit unclear on the detour details. What will the detour be for those traveling north(west?)bound on Mt. Zion Road? The article only discusses the detour for those traveling down the mountain (i.e., the Stone Road detour), but even that doesn't make a lot of sense because the "detour" literally routes traffic right back to the closed intersection. Does anyone know if there is a website I can visit to search for this information? I checked the SHA website and couldn't find many details.

runjdon

I mean, I guess you could do Mt. Zion > Elmer Derr > Elmer (tunnel) > 180 > Teen Barnes > Stone > Mt. Zion, but that's not at all what the article says. Just looking for a little clarity. I travel this road often, and it would be nice to know what to expect.

lynnemezzo

There have been roundabouts in the UK for more than 50 years (probably longer), and they work just fine. You cannot enter into a roundabout going 55 miles per hour and you have to yield to people who are already in the circle. Slow down watch out for others already in the circle!

DickD

They have some very recent ones on route 17, going into Brunswick. And there's another one on route 15, just before the Potomac River Bridge. They work fine.

gardenwhimsey

If they had installed regular stop lights at that intersection years ago, that would have solved the problem. When I lived out there it was stop signs, later they put in flashing yellow lights. The traffic circle is not going to solve the problem, it may even increase the frequency of accidents.

shiftless88

The key, garden, is to reduce the SEVERITY of accidents.

richardlyons

Silly comment.

DickD

I don't think so because you are going to have to slow down to 15 or 20 mph.

Brookhawk

This love for roundabouts (what we called traffic circles 50 years ago) is so stupid. Don't you characters realize that where they existed in states like NJ years ago, they were eliminated because traffic got too heavy and accidents became too frequent as drivers were jockeying to get into and out of the darned things?

pappyjoe

Brookhawk absolutely correct on that one. Idiots do not yeild to you they look you straight in the eye then, pull out forcing you to brake hard. I always keep a full tank of gas always, cause when they entice me, they better have a full tank of gas also with no appointment or obligations because, serve @$$ whipping takes place when they stop. Also carry munchies along too.

DickD

Wish I could understand what you just posted.

shiftless88

When traffic is really heavy then yes, they might be an issue. But that is not the case for this intersection and likely never will be. They reduce deaths from people screwing up and pulling into the path of a car on a 50 mph roadway by slowing everyone down.

sue1955

Amen, Brookhawk. I'd like for the geniuses who created the roundabout at Christopher Crossing and Yellow Springs Road to know how stupid they were. Every time I'm by there personally, there is a near-miss. Friends and family have seen the same thing. There is a big problem with drivers not yielding the right of way as they are supposed to. Roundabouts are detested by people in other regions. Family in the Boston area hate them (called "rotaries" there).

shiftless88

better a near miss at 25 mph than a collision at 50 mph

public-redux

“There is a big problem with drivers not yielding the right of way as they are supposed to.†Odd that you would blame the roundabout for the fault of the driver.

petersamuel

Intersections like this need a roundabout. It's the only way to save lives and traumatic injuries. We have way too many intersections with signals (or call 'em lights) which cause motorists to speed when they're green, and waste your time when they're red. A roundabout forces drivers to slow but doesn't stop traffic unnecessarily like lights or signals.

richardlyons

[thumbup]

Reader1954

at least the roundabot will be single lane. I don't get when they are double lanes - people from the inside cut you off to make their right turns out of the circle

FCPS-Principal

Where we need roundabouts is at all the stupid traffic lights we have at the Diamond interchanges. Those lousy interchanges should have been upgraded to a cloverleaf with merge lanes decades ago but they just put up lights instead. This greatly impedes traffic and worse, lets cars onto the highway in large continuous groups making merging impossible.

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