Indian Head Rail Trail Section Set to Open

Police Stress Traffic Safety; Speed Enforcement Planned

LA PLATA, Md. (June 16, 2009)—With a new section of the Indian Head Rail Trail scheduled to open this week on Bensville Road, the Charles County Sheriff's Office is reminding motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to stay safe and take precautions when nearing parts of the trail that intersect with roadways.

This particular crossing - in the 6800 block of Bensville Road - is located at the bottom of a hill where the old railroad tracks crossed the highway. Although the speed limit in that area ranges from 30 mph to 40 mph, the crossing is preceded by a sharp curve and sloping decline on the west side of the road and a gradual decline in the east bound travel portion of the roadway, making speed a concern.

Once an abandoned railroad corridor, the Indian Head Rail Trail is currently being converted into a 13 mile-bike trail eventually connecting the Town of Indian Head to Route 301 in White Plains. There will be a total of 12 road crossings associated with the trail, several of which have already opened: Theodore Green Boulevard, Middletown Road, Mattingly Avenue, Indian Head Avenue, Blair Road, Woodland Drive, and Arthur Ross Place. The other crossings - Bumpy Oak Road and Routes 227, 224, 225 - are scheduled to open later this year.

The Sheriff's Office is working with the Department of Public Facilities and the State Highway Administration to facilitate safe operations in and around the crossings. For motorists, temporary speed trailers will be utilized near the crossings to warn people of their speed and the upcoming crossing. In addition, officers will be conducting speed enforcement - including radar - in and around the area to remind drivers to slow down, obey the speed limit and be on the alert for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Cyclists are reminded that they operate under Maryland law meaning they have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles including stopping at red lights and stop signs - some of which are located at the exit of trails prior to crossing a roadway.

For more information about the Indian Head Rail Trail, including the terrain, routes and crossings, visit

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