The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) is committed to providing a safe and reliable highway system to all users. I would like to clarify details of the U.S. 15 project between Hansonville and Hessong Bridge roads, and how ‘J-turns’ enhance traffic safety and operations.

This design has been shown to greatly reduce right-angle crashes by eliminating crossover movements within an intersection. Traffic volume has increased dramatically along this section of U.S. 15, from 37,000 two decades ago, to 50,000 today. This change has impacted the safe operation of turning movements of the existing crossovers.

We constructed a raised median at the Devilbiss Bridge Road/Bartgis Road intersection that closes access on the side roads from crossing U.S. 15. Motorists on Devilbiss Bridge Road now turn right onto northbound U.S. 15 and make a U-turn at the Hansonville Road/Hessong Bridge Road intersection and proceed on southbound U.S. 15 to a 1,500-foot-long, marked acceleration lane.

The left turn from Old Frederick Road across U.S. 15 to the southbound lanes is temporarily closed and will reopen after final paving next spring. There will also be a new acceleration lane, approximately 1,300 feet long, in the median for traffic to safely enter the U.S. 15 southbound lanes.

We expect that most of the traffic will be into the permanent pattern by the end of this year, with final paving and pavement markings to be complete by early spring 2020.

New traffic patterns can be challenging at first, but we are confident that these major improvements will benefit the tens of thousands of motorists every day. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify the current construction activity.

(5) comments

mrnatural1

Good explanation, thank you.

You know what else would improve safety? Fewer people driving fewer vehicles. Seriously, at this point it really is (or should be) criminal negligence and/or dereliction of duty to allow even ONE more residential housing unit to be built where it can be reasonably foreseen that the residents will utilize US 15.

Reminder: By definition, there can be no such thing as "smart growth" in an area like FredCo with inadequate public transportation. We may pack people into tiny townhouses but they still have to drive everywhere.

Each additional person or family, as wonderful as they may be, is a burden. They (unavoidably) contribute to traffic congestion on our already severely overcrowded roads and their kids are crammed into classrooms and unsecured shacks (portables) that are well over 100% capacity.

I can understand why those who benefit financially from the lowering of our quality of life continue to press for ever more development -- but why do county officials allow it? Seriously, why? Are they being blackmailed? Bribed? Do they honestly think any pros outweigh the numerous cons?

Something to think about after the next horrific deadly accident on US 15.

olefool

Crossover clover leafs would have been a better solution in my opinion. I live directly on US 15 and can attest that negotiating turns across high speed lanes (some times as much as 80 MPH) is a scary situation...

FCPS-Principal

Cloverleafs cost $$. But they facilitate smooth and continuous traffic flow. Better to build Diamonds with traffic lights at each end. The ones without left turn lights are the best. They causes more gridlock and backups and negative impact on the main road and more crashes. But they're cheaper and cheap is how everything is done.

gary4books

Someone ought to tell Google Maps which road is "Old Frederick Road." They only one they know about is east of Thurmont and never gets near 15. Perhaps it also has a road number.

gary4books

OK. I finally found it. Just closer to Thurmont than I expected. And, yes, it does go east of Thurmont. My bad.

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