ANNAPOLIS. MARYLAND 214O1-1991
[ Senator Dyson's Newletter ]
Is the solution to increased traffic in Calvert County going to be a traffic light at every intersection? I hope not. But I am afraid we will need a few more. Same are needed right now.
There is a great conflict between the desire for traffic to move quickly and freely on main roads and the need for people to enter and exit those main roads to get to their homes and to shop. These conflicts are becoming blatantly apparent at some intersections which up until recently didn't seem to be any problem at all.
I know it is the desire of many, including the tourist industry and the Navy, to keep the Route 2/4 transportation corridor through Calvert County as free of traffic lights as possible. They have an interest in making the travel time to and from D.C. as short as possible. I support that idea wholeheartedly and will work wherever possible to insure that their wishes are met. But we have gone beyond the time we can flatly deny traffic lights for that reason alone.
Traffic lights aren't inherently bad. It has been only a short time that the Route 2/4 intersection in Sunderland has had a traffic light for northbound traffic. When the light was installed there were several major accidents as people got used to the idea. Now it would be hard to imagine that intersection without a traffic light. The obvious need for safety outweighs the inconvenience of waiting for a red light there.
The new traffic light in Solomons also appears to be working. That was becoming a dangerous intersection for people in the Asbury community attempting to cross the dual lane, heavily-traveled highway to get to the new shopping center on the opposite side. Safety has been achieved without slowing things down too much.
Further up the road a light is being installed on the northbound lane of Routes 2/4 at the entrance to Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant. The amount of traffic leaving the plant and heading southbound was causing conflicts with the increased commuter traffic heading northbound on that road. These one direction lights are good solutions to full lighting because they only impede flow in one direction.
Unlike up in Sunderland, unfortunately this intersection has a neighborhood on the other side on Saw Mill Road. The 50 families who live there have found that they will no longer be able to turn onto that road at that spot while traveling northbound. The road does loop and intersect Route 2/4 further north. But the traffic southbound at that point in traveling faster, residents report, and thus is a more dangerous spot to cross. They would like to be able to continue make the turn at the BG&E entrance.
A state highway official said it was their policy to prevent left hand turns in similar situations with partial traffic lights. I am not sure what the answer is but I will continue to work with everyone to see that the best solution is achieved. This might be one place where a full signalized intersection may be needed in the future.
Calvert countians who travel to Leonardtown regularly will want to know that I have asked SHA to look at the Routes 4/5 intersection. There have been several accidents there recently. This might be one intersection where flashing yellow warning lights may been needed now and a full or partial signaling later on. State highway officials have agreed to do a study of this intersection.
On another road issue, we are constantly being asked about the status of the Hughesville bypass. According to Larry Elliott in the district engineers office, an eastern route is the preferred option but the exact location is still under review by a local committee working with the state. There are apparently some wetlands concerns. This is another project that is going slower than I had hoped. We will continue to watch it.
Over the past several years we have gotten some really good ideas from the readers of this column about how to improve traffic. What better thing to think about sitting in that traffic jam. We have found SHA District Engineer Paul Armstrong to be most willing to listen to any and all suggestions and most interested in doing the right thing to get a safer and more efficient road network here in Southern Maryland. If you have any ideas please call my district office at 301-994-2826 and we'll pass them along to him.
[ Senator Dyson's Newletter ]