Com­mis­sion­ers meet with MDOT

Times-Record - - Opinion - By ABBY AN­DREWS aan­drews@car­o­line­times­record.com

DEN­TON — Caro­line County’s com­mis­sion­ers had their an­nual meet­ing with the Mary­land Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion, Tues­day, Nov. 15, to share con­cerns and make re­quests for road and bridge projects.

With the two ma­jor projects the county re­quested for years, a new Dover Bridge and du­al­iza­tion of state Route 404, both fully funded and un­der way, nearly all of the re­quests this year came from towns within the county.

Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Wil­bur Le­ven­good asked en­gi­neers to again re­con­sider the J-turns in place of left turns in the de­sign for Route 404, due to con­cerns over agri­cul­tural equip­ment like trac­tors and com­bines not be­ing able to use them safely.

Le­ven­good also asked for changes to the tim­ing of the light at the in­ter­sec­tion of River Road and Route 404, near North Caro­line High School, to re­lieve traf­fic con­ges­tion in the morn­ing and af­ter­noon on week­days, when peo­ple are trav­el­ing to and from the school.

Other than that, how­ever, the only of­fi­cial piece of busi­ness from the county govern­ment dur­ing the meet­ing was the pre­sen­ta­tion of a let­ter of com­men­da­tion for Mary­land State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion District 2 En­gi­neer Greg Holsey, to for­mally rec­og­nize his out­stand­ing ser­vice to Caro­line County.

The rest of the con­cerns came from town of­fi­cials.

Ridgely Mayor An­thony Casey said the town is re­quest­ing a traf­fic light at the in­ter­sec­tion of Cen­tral Av­enue and state Route 480 — for the 60th year in a row.

The town has been re­quest­ing a light there since 1956. Holsey said nu­mer­ous traf­fic stud­ies have been con­ducted by SHA over the years, but so far, none of have shown the traf­fic vol­ume meets at least one of 11 pos­si­ble cri­te­ria to war­rant a light.

Casey said the in­ter­sec­tion is on the di­rect route be­tween North Caro­line High School and Ridgely El­e­men­tary School, and so gets busy with school buses try­ing to cross Route 480. He said it also gets busy on week­ends when lo­cal sports leagues hold mul­ti­ple games within the town.

Holsey said an­other study would have to be done to see if things have changed enough to need a light.

Casey said the town is also ask­ing for sig­nals and sig­nage to be placed near the in­ter­sec­tion of Sun­set Boule­vard and First Street, where a new build­ing, to be shared by the Ridgely Vol­un­teer Fire Com­pany and Caro­line County Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices, is open­ing early next year.

The en­trance will be near a blind curve, Casey said, which will not give un­pre­pared driv­ers much time to re­act should they drive up on slow-mov­ing equip­ment like fire trucks and tankers pulling onto Sun­set Boule­vard.

Casey said the town would like a sig­nal like the one near the Eas­ton Fire Sta­tion on state Route 328.

Den­ton Town Man­ager Don Mul­rine said Den­ton would like to see changes made to re­lieve con­ges­tion on Le­gion Road, near the Den­ton Plaza and Wal­mart shop­ping cen­ter.

Mul­rine said the town wants a cut in the me­dian near the Den­ton Plaza en­trance and exit, in front of Auto Zone, to al­low left turns to­ward Route 404, per­haps with a re­stric­tion on mak­ing a left turn dur­ing par­tic­u­larly busy hours of the day.

Mul­rine said the town would also like a round­about where Route 404, Meet­ing House Road and Mar­ket and Gay streets meet near the en­trance to Crouse Park, where the town is build­ing a new visitor’s cen­ter, among other de­vel­op­ment projects.

Fi­nally, Mul­rine said the town would like a speed cam­era re­lo­cated from Camp Road to state Route 619, and a re­design of the in­ter­sec­tion with Caro­line Street, the main route to Lock­er­man Mid­dle School, to im­prove safety there.

Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B, asked about the time­line for Dover Bridge’s com­ple­tion.

Holsey said the bridge’s pro­jected open­ing to traf­fic has been moved up five months to early 2019, due to good weather and hard work by the con­trac­tor.

The open­ing might be even ear­lier than that, Holsey said. Early in­di­ca­tions show the bridge might be set­tling quicker than ex­pected, pos­si­bly mov­ing up the bridge’s open­ing an­other five months to late 2018.

“We don’t know that for sure yet,” Holsey said.

The Route 404 du­al­iza­tion project is on sched­ule to be com­pleted by its orig­i­nal date, about a year from now.

Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion Deputy Sec­re­tary Jim Ports said Caro­line County and its towns will re­ceive a to­tal of $3.7 mil­lion in High­way User Rev­enues be­tween Fis­cal Years 2017 and 2022, for road and bridge main­te­nance.

Ports said in FY2017, the Caro­line County Sher­iff’s Of­fice will get a $20,000 high­way safety grant, and a $1.1 mil­lion grant will pro­vide three re­place­ment small buses for lo­cal public transit in con­junc­tion with Tal­bot County.

Ports said Del­marva Com­mu­nity Ser­vices, which pro­vides public transit on the Mid-Shore, in­clud­ing Caro­line County, will get $573,000 in FY17 for cap­i­tal as­sis­tance, specif­i­cally for the ser­vice it pro­vides to se­niors and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

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