New Transportation Funding Brings Three New Projects to Chesapeake Beach: Historic Hiker-Biker Trail, Streetscape Project and Bridge Replacement
$20 Million Project Breaks Bottleneck Along MD 2/4 In Prince Frederick
(Chesapeake Beach, Maryland) - Demonstrating his continued commitment to Southern Maryland, Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., today announced $28 million in transportation improvements for the Chesapeake Beach area of Calvert County. Governor Ehrlich announced the good news to community residents, elected officials and business owners at the Northeast Community Center overlooking Fishing Creek near MD 261 (Bayside Road) in the town of Chesapeake Beach. He directed the Maryland Department of Transportation to move forward with three innovative projects in eastern Calvert County - the construction of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail, the Chesapeake Beach streetscape along MD 260 (Chesapeake Beach Road) and MD 261, and the replacement of the Mount Harmony Road bridge over MD 260.
"The Ehrlich-Steele Administration is committed to making Maryland a great place to work, live and raise a family," said Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. "These projects will help meet the needs of this rapidly growing town and encourage existing and new businesses to invest in this historic bayside resort community. These new investments are made possible because Senate President Miller and Veterans Affairs Secretary George Owings III showed the leadership and courage in supporting my transportation funding package in the legislature."
One of the major additions to the Town of Chesapeake Beach is the construction of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail, a 1.4-mile hiker-biker trail that will connect pedestrians and bicyclists in Chesapeake Beach town center to the Bayview Hills and Richfield Station communities. The trail will be built along the preserved right-of-way of the Chesapeake Beach Railway Line, which operated in the early 1900s, bringing vacationers from Washington, D.C. to the resort town. The railway will be constructed with $1.6 million in matching funds from the State Highway Administration's Transportation Enhancement Program. Construction for the trail is scheduled to begin fall 2005 and open for recreational use by summer 2006.
"I could not be more pleased that the State Highway Administration recognized the needs of the people of Chesapeake Beach and North Beach with these transportation improvements," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.
"We have worked hard for many years to have parks and other recreational facilities for our citizens," said Chesapeake Beach Mayor Gerald Donovan. "The Chesapeake Beach Railway Trail is the capstone of all of our efforts. On behalf of the Town Council, myself and all of the citizens of Chesapeake Beach, we would like to thank Governor Ehrlich, Secretary Flanagan, Senator Mike Miller and former Delegate George Owings for all of the efforts."
The second project is the Chesapeake Beach Streetscape, which will include improvements to MD 260 (Chesapeake Beach Road) and MD 261 (Bayside Road). The $5 million streetscape will include new sidewalks, decorative lighting and the reconstruction of the continuous center turn lane along MD 260. New bike lanes will be built along MD 261 to provide access for cyclists and connect to the Railway Trail. Work for this project will begin in spring 2006 and take approximately one year to complete.
Just west of Chesapeake Beach, SHA will replace Mount Harmony Road Bridge over MD 260. The existing bridge, built in 1934, is outdated and needs to be replaced to meet the growing traffic demands in the area. Construction for the new $1.3 million structure will begin this spring and be open to traffic in fall 2006.
"Many residents of North Beach travel over the Mount Harmony Road Bridge on a daily basis," said North Beach Mayor Mark Frazer. "On their behalf, I'd like to express my appreciation to Governor Ehrlich for finding the funds in a difficult budget situation to make long-overdue improvements to this bridge."
Also at today's event, Governor Ehrlich announced a $20 million project to remove a bottleneck along MD 2/4 at MD 231 (Hallowing Point Road) in Prince Frederick that will ease congestion for Calvert County commuters. In order to improve traffic flow at this intersection, MD 2/4, at MD 231, will be widened from two to three through lanes and from one to two left-turn lanes.
The Chesapeake Beach 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.