Stand­still traf­fic has res­i­dents seek­ing re­lief

The Kent Island Bay Times - - Arts & Entertainment - By HAN­NAH COMBS hcombs@kibay­times.com

STEVENSVILLE — On Sun­day, of­fi­cials from the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, in­clud­ing Sher­iff Gary Hof­mann him­self, re­sponded to Kent Is­land to as­sist with traf­fic flow. As res­i­dents of the county have come to ex­pect, traf­fic comes to a stand­still much of Sun­day and sig­nif­i­cantly slows on Satur­day. It’s not the way any­one wants to spend their week­end.

Sun­day af­ter­noon, Hof­mann posted to so­cial me­dia sites, let­ting ev­ery­one know that any­one wish­ing to use Route 18 near the Friendly Food store was be­ing redi­rected back to Route 50.

“This is keep­ing Route 18 flow­ing and the con­stant pace,” said Hof­mann, not­ing that he was sta­tioned in the area and that the de­part­ment was re­ceiv­ing com­pli­ments — even the trav­el­ers are thank­ing us for get­ting them back up on 50, he said, they’re re­al­iz­ing that 50 moves faster.

The over­all goal, said Hof­mann, was to keep Route 18 traf­fic flow­ing, but he said, traf­fic seemed to have a hard time nav­i­gat­ing the cir­cle at 18 and Cas­tle Ma­rina.

At 5 p.m. Sun­day even­ing, one res­i­dent ob­served what she de­ter­mined to be at least a six mile back up on Route 18. Get­ting out of area neigh­bor­hoods to shop or run er­rands is out of the ques­tion when traf­fic is so con­gested, said many from the area.

By 7 p.m. Sun­day, traf­fic was bumper to bumper from the Bay Bridge to other end of Route 18 at Route 50 in front of the out­let cen­ter. And trav­el­ers aren’t al­ways friendly in their haste to get to the beach or back home. Zip­ping at high speeds around ve­hi­cles slowed or stopped to turn off the high­way is a com­mon oc­cur­rence, said one woman, and oth­ers sais peo­ple yelling at stopped traf­fic hap­pens too.

Just stay home on the week­ends, one woman rec­om­mended. Do your shop­ping dur­ing the week, and, if you must leave home, plan to do it early in the day, was her sug­ges­tion. Al­though, for those who have to work that is not an op­tion, es­pe­cially for res­i­dents who are servers and wait staff at es­tab­lish­ments fa­vored by out-of-town guests and oth­ers who are vol­un­teer first re­spon­ders and fire­fight­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to one woman, this sum­mer is the worst traf­fic she has ex­pe­ri­enced in over 36 years of liv­ing in the area. And while com­plain­ing doesn’t fix the im­me­di­ate prob­lem, there are se­ri­ous con­cerns that need to be ad­dressed, she said.

One mother said the ride from her home to the emer­gency cen­ter in Queen­stown when her son landed a fish hook in his hand took over an hour and 15 min­utes — a trip that would nor­mally take 25-35 min­utes.

With the Middletown, Del., by­pass planned to open in the near fu­ture an es­ti­mated 10,000 to 14,000 more ve­hi­cles have the po­ten­tial to travel 301 and through Queen Anne’s County to cross the Bay Bridge.

Last sum­mer’s traf­fic coun­ters said on av­er­age 37,000 cars were on the road just east of the Bay Bridge in the May. That num­ber is up from Jan­uary’s av­er­age of 28,000. The num­bers change lit­tle whether counted east­bound or west­bound.

One traf­fic app — The Waze — was di­vert­ing di­vert­ing traf­fic onto Nes­bit Road over the week­end, con­firmed Hof­mann.

“We are do­ing the best we can by try­ing to keep 18 mov­ing,” Hof­mann said on Sun­day, adding that he had spo­ken with the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion as well to ad­dress the con­cern. “I wish I were a bridge builder, but am do­ing the best we can with the vol­ume headed our way from beach points.”

Hof­mann said he is al­ways open to help­ful sug­ges­tions and would per­son­ally de­liver them to the state.

On Route 18, Sun­day af­ter­noon traf­fic was at a stand­still as the in­flux of beach trav­el­ers head back west — us­ing Route 18 as an at­tempted al­ter­na­tive to the US 50 backup.

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