The continuation of some road projects and the beginning of some others will complicate travel for Frederick County drivers this summer.
One project will widen the median of U.S. 15 at Md. 76 near Emmitsburg, providing acceleration and deceleration lanes, and eliminating the ability to make left turns from westbound Md. 76 and eastbound St. Anthony Road.
Instead, drivers will turn right and make a U-turn at adjacent intersections, which will also have acceleration and deceleration lanes.
That part of U.S. 15 is used by about 45,000 vehicles per day, according to the State Highway Administration.
Frederick County Council Vice President Michael Blue (R), who represents the area, said he was approached by several people while he was campaigning who talked to him about how difficult it is to turn on U.S. 15.
Factors including speed and sight distance in the area make turns tough, Blue said.
He said the state has known about the problem for a while, and he’s happy they’re doing something.
“Anything they can do to improve the safety is wonderful,” Blue said.
The $5.5 million is expected to be finished in fall 2020.
Meanwhile, work continues on Md. 77 between Pryor Road and Stottlemyer Road, where crews are replacing 46 aging culverts. Workers will also clean drainpipes and inlets.
The work led to the road being closed from May 1 through May 23, and the project is expected to be finished by summer 2020.
Work is expected to start soon on a road widening project on Md. 180 from Swallowtail Drive to Interstate 70, which will include the installation of a second bridge over U.S. 15, as well as adding more through lanes, bike lanes and shoulders, and a new left-turn lane at Solarex Court.
There will be a barrier with a lane shift on U.S. 15/U.S. 340 under Md. 180, and a barrier along Md. 180 east of the ramp for U.S. 15 leading into and out of the bridge, according to SHA.
The $21 million project should be finished by summer 2021.
The area, which handles 27,000 vehicles a day, has been a traffic bottleneck for some time, and adding capacity to the road should help congestion, said Del. Carol Krimm.
While there has been a need, other important projects have been done first.
“You can’t get everything done at once,” Krimm said.
Preliminary work has begun on a project to install a roundabout at Md. 180 and Mount Zion Road.
The road will close for eight weeks beginning June 20, once Frederick County schools let out for the year.
The work is expected to be finished by late fall, according to SHA.
This fall, Md. 383 will be closed over branches of Catoctin Creek in Jefferson for a weekend while two metal pipes that carry the creek under the road are replaced.
The metal pipes are safe to be driven on, but are in poor condition and are nearing the end of their useful life, according to SHA.
Meanwhile, several long-term projects continue to affect traffic in the county.
Md. 478 over a branch of the Potomac River will remain closed into the fall for a bridge replacement project.
A bridge rehabilitation project will restrict traffic on the Md. 28 bridge over the Monocacy River to one lane, with traffic guided by a temporary traffic signal until spring 2020.
A roadside slope repair continues to shut down the right truck climbing lane and shoulder of U.S. 40 Alternate in Braddock Heights in a long-term closing that is expected to continue until July.