By Guy Leonard, County Times
HOLLYWOOD, Md. (March 13, 2008)—For years widening Chancellors Run Road from two lanes to four has sat atop the list of project priorities in the county for the State Highway Administration.
Now after a long wait, the work is set to begin.
Crews have been cutting down trees and moving utility poles in the past weeks to make way for the expansion, and sections of land on what has become a bypass from Lexington Park to Great Mills have been fenced off as staging areas for heavy machinery ready to begin the roads transformation.
One thing is for sure, say officials with both county government and state highway, the project will be tough on traffic management.
Itll be a very busy work zone, said Chuck Gischlar, SHA spokesman. There will be times where lanes will be closed
and I expect there will be disruptions of traffic flow in the off peak hours.
The plan is to widen the oft-used road from two lanes to four lanes, complete with a median strip and several traffic signals placed at key intersections along the way.
Gischlar said utility moves will be made in earnest this spring while the major excavation will start in June.
The total cost of the project will be about $56.6 million once completed according to figures from SHA.
Gischlar said the progress of the project will depend much on the weather conditions during the spring and summer months as warmer temperatures are needed to lay down new asphalt for the road widening.
New curbs and sidewalks will also be installed along with bicycle lanes, according to SHA information, making it more pedestrian friendly.
Anyone walking on Chancellors Run Road now has no sidewalk and is placed in extremely close proximity to heavy traffic.
Gischlar also asked commuters and motorists to exercise patience throughout the nearly two-year project once construction begins, especially where work crews are involved.
We appreciate [motorists] patience but think orange, stay slow and stay alert, Gischlar said. [The project will] improve safety, relieve congestion and get the traffic moving through more smoothly.
Richard Conner, pastor at Patuxent Baptist Church, which sits just astride Chancellors Run Road, said he was looking forward to the traffic signal that would be going in across the road.
The road has a shoulder in front of the church he pastors that impatient drivers often use to get around clogged traffic. And the intersection just across from the church has had its fair share of traffic accidents.
I like it better to have a light there, Conner told The County Times. And theyre going to put a sidewalk out in front which will be a buffer between us and the road that weve never had before. People go by so fast now.
County Commissioner Daniel Raley (D-Great Mills) said the county needs to stand by to help people and homeowners along the road who could be negatively impacted by the construction.
I know that people will call county government and I dont want the answer to be that its a state road and the countys not involved, Raley said. He added that he would propose the county government provide quick links to officials at the SHA and elsewhere when problems arose about mail not being delivered properly, people being blocked into their property by construction and other issues.
Theres going to be some turmoil, the roads going to be ripped up, Raley said. Its about time, we need to get it done.
Sometimes the traffic crossing over to Route 235 is backed up all the way to Greenview Knolls
we need to work through the pain.