Governor Ehrlich Announces $55 Million In Transportation Improvements For St. Mary's County

New Transportation Funding Brings Two New Projects: Leonardtown Streetscape and MD 237 Widening in Lexington Park

(California, Maryland) - Demonstrating his continued commitment to Southern Maryland, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., today announced nearly $55 million in transportation improvements for St. Mary's County. Governor Ehrlich announced the good news to community residents, elected officials and business owners at the Hickory Hills Shopping Center in California. He directed the Maryland Department of Transportation to move forward with two long-awaited projects in Saint Mary's County - the widening of MD 237 (Chancellor's Run Road) between MD 235 (Three Notch Road) and Pegg Road in Lexington Park and the MD 5 Business Streetscape in Leonardtown.

"Safety on Maryland roads is a top priority of my Administration," said Governor Ehrlich. "Due to the passage of my transportation funding package during the 2004 General Assembly, projects that will enhance safety and improve mobility in the State can now begin. I want to thank those legislators in St. Mary's County who supported my transportation initiative as their vote is allowing us to continue to make real progress for the people of Maryland."

MD 237 (Chancellor's Run Road) is a narrow, two-lane highway between MD 235 and Pegg Road in southern St. Mary's County. As part of the $51.4 million improvements, the State Highway Administration will add one lane in each direction, upgrading the 2.7-mile road to a four-lane divided highway. The addition of a raised center median, new sidewalks and bike lanes also will improve safety along MD 237, improving access for residents and businesses. Today, nearly 14,000 vehicles use this road each day and this count will increase to 23,000 by the year 2025. Governor Ehrlich has instructed the State Highway Administration to work aggressively on the design of the project, which began this Summer, and begin Construction in fall 2007. The project should be open to traffic by Spring 2010.

The improvements to MD 237 will improve a cross county road that will serve the Patuxent River Naval Air Station. The widening of MD 237 also will enhance the base's position for the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) review by improving the surrounding transportation network. In July, Governor Ehrlich and local officials celebrated the completion of the $75 million MD 235 widening project in Lexington Park, which opened a four-mile, six-lane highway between MD 4 and MD 246 (Great Mills Road).

"I am very pleased that these projects are moving forward. It was my pleasure to work closely with the administration to secure funding for these vital projects for St. Mary's County," said Delegate Tony O'Donnell. "Governor Ehrlich and Secretary Flanagan continue to demonstrate their strong support of infrastructure improvements for Patuxent River Naval Air Station, especially going into this next round of BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure)."

"The improvements to MD 237 are extremely important to maintaining the quality of life for residents in St. Mary's County," said Delegate John F. Wood, Jr. "Chancellors Run Road will now have sidewalks and bike lanes, making it safer for those that live between MD 235 and Pegg Road. The Saint Mary's delegation has worked on this project for a number of years and I thank Governor Ehrlich for making this a reality."

The second project, the Leonardtown Streetscape, includes improvements to MD 5 Business (Fenwick Street / Washington Street) in downtown Leonardtown. The $3.2 million, one-mile streetscape will include new sidewalks, decorative lighting and the reconstruction of the continuous center turn lane along Washington Street, providing safe access to businesses, government agencies and other community amenities. The Governor instructed the State Highway Administration to work aggressively on the design of the project, which began this Summer, and get the project under construction by Spring 2006. This project should be open to traffic by Spring 2008.

"The funding of these two projects represents a true commitment to improving transportation in St. Mary's County," said Thomas F. McKay, President, St. Mary's County Board of Commissioners. "With the support of Governor Ehrlich and his administration, we look forward to our continued progress for improved roads that will benefit our citizens, our business community, and our economy."

The Leonardtown and Lexington Park transportation improvements are made possible by the passage of Governor Ehrlich's transportation funding package, which provides an additional $237 million annually to address needed safety and congestion relief improvements in every region of the State. It represents Maryland's first increase in transportation funding in more than a decade.

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