Road work season spreads across Maryland

Robert Thomson
Columnist June 15, 2013

Maryland’s transportation system hasn’t begun to reap the revenue benefits that will come with thegas tax increase scheduled to begin in July. And the state doesn’t have any major new projects to launch this summer in the D.C. region.

Nonetheless, drivers will encounter hundreds of work zones. In some, crews will be rehabilitating bridges, while in others, they will be repaving highways, trimming trees and fixing signs.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region. View Archive

These will sometimes involve lane closings that will slow travel, though most of the activity will occur during off-peak hours. Whether or not you think workers are present, use caution in these areas.

On Wednesday night, a worker on a highway lighting project was killed when struck by a vehicle on Route 216 in Howard County.

Top five

These Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) projects are likely to be particularly noticeable because they are on major commuter routes.

Capital Beltway/University Boulevard. Drivers on University Boulevard, a major east-west link in Montgomery County, can see some preliminary work for deck replacement on the bridge over the Beltway in Silver Spring. Other work will include structural repairs, cleaning, painting and resurfacing of the bridge approaches. The SHA estimates that the project will have a moderate impact on traffic. Work is scheduled to be done in summer 2015.

Rockville Pike/Connecticut Avenue. Several state projects are underway in the hope of improving travel near the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, sandwiched between Rockville Pike and Connecticut Avenue in Bethesda. These are intended to provide relief for congestion stemming from the federal base realignment program that added patients and staff at the medical center. The work on Rockville Pike between Cedar Lane and Jones Bridge Road, which the SHA estimates has had a moderate-to-severe impact on traffic since it began in 2012, is scheduled to be done this summer. So is the widening and turn-lane addition project on Connecticut Avenue near Jones Bridge Road and Kensington Parkway, where resurfacing is scheduled over the next month.

New Hampshire Avenue. Another bridge rehabilitation project got underway this spring on New Hampshire Avenue, where this important commuter route crosses over Sligo Creek in eastern Montgomery County. A small section of Sligo Creek Parkway is temporarily closed. Drivers may encounter off-peak single-lane closings. The SHA estimated that the project, scheduled to be done in spring 2014, will have a moderate impact on traffic.

I-95 interchange. The construction of a new interchange with extended merge lanes along I-95 between the Intercounty Connector and Sandy Spring Road in Prince George’s County got underway in 2012 and is scheduled to be done in spring 2014. Although the speed limit along the interstate remains 65 mph and traffic flows well, drivers do encounter rough pavement where lanes have been shifted for the project. Speed cameras operate in this work zone.

Georgia Avenue. Resurfacing is scheduled to begin at mid-summer on Georgia Avenue between the D.C. line and 16th Street (Maryland Route 390), with an estimated completion by spring 2014. Work will require off-peak lane closings through the heart of downtown Silver Spring.

Best of the rest

This is a sampler drawn from the scores of other projects that will be underway this summer. A full list is on the Maryland State Highway Administration Web site at www.roads.maryland.gov.

Capital Beltway resurfacing. Two resurfacing projects on the Beltway in Prince George’s are likely to have a moderate-to-severe impact on traffic at night, the SHA says. One is between D’Arcy Road and Arena Drive, the FedEx Field area. It’s scheduled to begin this month and be done by the end of the year, after single-lane and double-lane closings at night. The other is between Glenarden Parkway and Route 50. It’s scheduled to begin this summer and should be done by the end of the year. It also will require single-lane and double-lane closings overnights.

I-95 resurfacing. Another resurfacing is scheduled to begin in early summer along I-95 between routes 32 and 216 in Howard County. It should be done by the end of the year. Drivers may encounter single-lane and double-lane closings on weeknights between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., with a moderate to severe impact on traffic.

Route 202. A resurfacing project began this spring between routes 50 and 704 in Landover. Single-lane closings on weeknights are likely to have a moderate impact on traffic. The project is scheduled to be completed in late summer.

Pennsylvania Avenue. The bridges on Pennsylvania Avenue (Route 4) over Woodyard Road near Joint Base Andrews are being replaced. A lane may be closed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays. The SHA estimates a minor impact on traffic. The work is scheduled to be done by fall 2015.

Budds Creek Road. The bridge over Allens Fresh Run is being replaced. It was destroyed by Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011 and replaced by a temporary structure while the permanent replacement was designed. This is being built parallel to the old one, so the work, scheduled to be done in fall 2014, should not have an impact on traffic.

Fort Smallwood Road. The bridge over Stoney Creek in Anne Arundel County is being cleaned and painted, requiring a five-week closing and detour scheduled to start July 7. The detour is likely to extend trips on Fort Smallwood Road by 15 to 20 minutes.

Route 15. Two projects with a moderate impact on traffic will be underway through the summer along Route 15 in Frederick County. The bridge over Motter Avenue north of Frederick is being replaced in a project that began in 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in fall 2014. Off-peak lane closings have been occurring for several months. The northbound side of Route 15 between Route 26 and the area north of Angleberger Road in Thurmont is being resurfaced in a project that began this spring and should be done by early fall. Drivers may encounter single-lane closings at off-peak times.

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