ANNAPOLIS — Widening U.S. 15 from Interstate 70 to Md. 26 will remain the Frederick County delegation’s top highway construction priority.

“That’s the lifeline Main Street for Frederick. We have tremendous community support for that,” county traffic engineer Ron Burns told the delegation.

The plan, a break-out project from an Interstate 270/U.S. 15 transportation study, would widen the highway from four to six lanes. The project is expected to remain in the planning phase until at least late 2019.

Each year, counties provides their transportation priorities to the state in order to secure state funding and, if appropriate, begin working with U.S. representatives to set aside federal dollars.

Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner and Burns presented draft priorities before the delegation Friday.

The delegation generally agreed with the priorities, but Sen. Ron Young (D-District 3) suggested adding at least one weekend MARC train trip to the wish list. Burns noted that it used to be on the list, and agreed to add it back to keep it in the county’s discussions with the Maryland Department of Transportation.

At Gardner’s request, the delegation also decided to move a project to add a left-turn lane and traffic light at Md. 26 and Old Annapolis Road/Water Street to the second-highest system preservation priority. Burns said that the intersection had a higher-than-average crash rate.

The top system preservation goal will remain a multi-project improvement to U.S. 15 from Biggs Ford Road to the Pennsylvania line.

Frederick County’s second overall transportation priority will be reconstructing Md. 85 north of Crestwood Boulevard to widen it to a multi-lane divided highway from Crestwood Boulevard/Shockley Drive to Spectrum Drive.

At a press conference Thursday, Gardner announced that construction of that project was fully funded.

The third priority is to start preliminary planning for a project to widen Md. 194 from two lanes to four from Md. 26 to Frederick Road.

The priorities were further split into several categories: primary and secondary highways, local and regional transit as well as bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

The top local transit priority would be a $69,000 investment in TransIT-plus paratransit service to expand service hours to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to help meet growing demand.

Krimm has a bill in to establish a commission to study the transportation of dialysis patients.

The delegation set a platform at the Point of Rocks station as the highest regional transit priority. Building a new platform would allow Frederick branch MARC trains to stop there.

Follow Kelsi Loos on Twitter: @KelsiLoos.

(3) comments



“That’s the lifeline Main Street for Frederick. We have tremendous community support for that,” county traffic engineer Ron Burns told the delegation."

No doubt there's a lot of support. There's a lot of support when people are asked if they want ice cream too.

The fact is that people are short-sighted.

Widening any road is a temporary solution at best. Just as surely as "nature abhors a vacuum", developers, upon seeing "excess highway capacity" (read: traffic actually flowing freely at the speed limit -- or anything above a crawl) will find a way to build more houses. Then US 15 will be just as bad as it is today, if not worse.

Any benefit from widening is short-lived. This has been shown over and over again.

The solution is no more residential development along with efficient public transportation to take some of the existing cars off the road. Even a 10-15% reduction would help. The MARC train simply is not a realistic option for most people.

The problem with US 15 is well known. It appears to be a limited access highway but in fact has several at-grade intersections. It connects to limited access highways at both ends (US 15 in PA, and US 340/I-70/I-270 to the south).

US 15 was never meant to carry the volume of traffic that it does every day. Unfortunately, money and greed almost always trump safety. Far too many houses have been built, with those involved knowing full well that a large number of the residents would be using US 15 to commute 'down the road'.

Once again though, the developers and politicians that enable them are not affected. Well, the developers almost certainly aren't -- local politicians might be, if by chance they have to drive on US 15 -- especially during rush hour.

Allowing overdevelopment, while being fully aware that doing so would overload US 15 and other area roads leading to serious accidents, should be criminal. At a minimum it is negligence and dereliction of duty.

Now that the residential development is there, the responsible thing to do would be to eliminate ALL at-grade intersections on US 15, but NOT widen the road. Widening it may seem like a good idea, especially to those who travel it every day, but the construction would disrupt traffic for years, and the end result would just be a wider linear parking lot.


The roads are fine, people just need to slow down.


194 doesn't go from 26 to Frederick Road, Ms. Loos, Frederick Road is in Thurmont. 194 goes from 26 to Frederick Street which is in Walkersville.

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