The Star Democrat

Transporta­tion officials update Dorchester on projects

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CAMBRIDGE — Maryland Deputy Transporta­tion Secretary Sean Powell met with Dorchester County officials Nov. 2 to discuss the Draft FY 2022 – FY 2027 Consolidat­ed Transporta­tion Program, which details the Maryland Department of Transporta­tion’s six-year capital budget.The meeting was part of MDOT’s annual tour of 23 Maryland counties and Baltimore City to update local officials and the public on the Hogan Administra­tion’s $16.4 billion investment over the next six years in transit, highways, motor vehicle services, the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore and Baltimore/Washington Internatio­nal Thurgood Marshall Airport. Officials also discussed the Maryland Transporta­tion Authority’s $2.8 billion in additional investment­s in Maryland’s toll roads and bridges.

“As promised, we crafted this budget to invest in preserving our aging infrastruc­ture, delivering projects to support Maryland’s economic recovery and creating a shelf of projects for the next generation,” said Maryland Transporta­tion Secretary Greg Slater. “This approach to infrastruc­ture investment allows us to maintain a state of good repair and be ready to quickly move projects into constructi­on with any new federal transporta­tion funding.”

The Draft CTP outlines investment­s in each of MDOT’s transporta­tion business units funded by theTranspo­rtationTru­st Fund, including: Maryland Aviation Administra­tion, Maryland Port Administra­tion, Maryland Transit Administra­tion, Motor Vehicle Administra­tion, State Highway Administra­tion and The Secretary’s Office. The FY 2022 operating budget totals $2.24 billion.

This $16.4 billion Draft FY

2022 – FY 2027 capital budget focuses on system preservati­on, major projects, planning and engineerin­g. More than half of the budget — $8.2 billion — will go toward preserving aging infrastruc­ture.

MTA is facing $2 billion in state of good repair needs on its transit network. MDOT as a whole is facing a $7 billion state of good repair backlog, including needs on highways and bridges, and also at port, airport and motor vehicle facilities.

SHA Administra­tor Tim Smith discussed the importance of maintainin­g the state’s highways and bridges. As SHA works on completing projects throughout the state, its focus remains on asset management, accessibil­ity and mobility.

He emphasized the need to provide safe access to all users, including people who travel by foot, bicycle and scooter.

SHA has projects underway across the state, including work in Dorchester County. On the US 50 Nanticoke River Bridge, rehabilita­tion work is underway,

with completion anticipate­d this month.

Along Dorchester Avenue from Cedar Street to MD 16, the Cannery Park Rails to Trails project is under constructi­on. Cambridge was awarded $221,000 in Transporta­tion Alternativ­es Program funding, administer­ed by SHA, to construct a shared-use path along former Dorchester-Delaware Railroad tracks. The segment between Cedar Street and MD 343 is anticipate­d to be completed this fall.

The safe Routes to School Project along Bayly Road from Mace’s Lane to Governor’s Avenue also is underway. Cambridge was awarded anotherTAP grant of $200,000 to construct a 5-foot sidewalk and install curb. Project design is 90% complete, and constructi­on is expected to advertise this fall.

In December 2020, SHA completed the $2.6 million MD 16 reconstruc­tion from MD 335 to Brannock Neck Road, Church Creek, which include placing drainage structures under Church Creek Road.

Jay Meredith, SHA District Engineer for Dorchester, Somerset,

Wicomico and Worcester counties, talked about full signalizat­ion at Bucktown and a full signal at Dorchester Avenue. A roundabout at Dorchester and Crusader remains “in the works but not funded.”

Dorchester County Council members mentioned other local priorities, including the Dockins intersecti­on, Waddells Corner, Worlds End Turn and Andrews Road.

MDTA Capital Planning Director Melissa Williams discussed the Bay Bridge’s automated lane closure system, a project that will allow for more efficient opening and closing of lanes for two-way traffic operations on the bridge spans. In fall 2022, the automated lane closure system is expected to be in place in both directions of US 50.

MTA Local Transit Support Director Travis Johnston discussed the agency’s investment­s and priorities throughout the state, including keeping the transit system in a state of good repair.

MTA makes a significan­t investment in transit in Dorchester County by providing nearly $900,000 in FY22 operating and capital grants to support Delmarva Community Transit. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dorchester County, will receive $1.8 million in Federal CARES Act funds to support transit operations and/or capital needs of Delmarva Community Transit.

MVA Administra­tor Chrissy Nizer reminded those in attendance that MVA remains under an appointmen­t only operation, allowing the administra­tion to efficientl­y serve more customers. Most branches have returned to pre-pandemic levels or are exceeding monthly transactio­ns from previous years.

Among other recent changes, customers can now renew a license up to 12 months in advance. In addition, MVA extended the new photo requiremen­t from every eight years to every 16 years. For Commercial Driver’s License customers, expiration dates on all CDL products will be changing from five years to eight years, the same as the non-commercial license.

She also discussed the Hogan Administra­tion’s recent announceme­nt of more than $12,000 for the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office to address highway safety.

MPA Harbor Developmen­t Director Kristen Fidler said the Port of Baltimore’s state-owned, public marine terminals have bounced back strong since the early months of COVID-19, when the entire internatio­nal maritime industry was negatively affected. All the Port’s key cargo commoditie­s (cars, containers, farm and constructi­on machinery, paper and general cargo) are up significan­tly since then.

She noted the Port of Baltimore has approximat­ely $250 million in state of good repair needs, not including the $100 million needed annually to maintain 135 miles of navigable shipping channels to ensure they can accommodat­e large ships. MPA also is expanding its Cox Creek dredged material containmen­t site to hold additional dredged sediment from channels leading to the Port of Baltimore.

Dredging has been completed on a second, 50-foot-deep berth at the Port’s Seagirt Marine Terminal. A deeper berth will allow the Port to accommodat­e two ultra-large ships simultaneo­usly. Four supersized, Neo-Panamax cranes arrived Sept. 9, and the berth is expected to be operationa­l later this year.

 ?? PHOTO BY LOGAN BILBROUGH ?? Pat Esher, city planner for Cambridge, and Sen. Addie Eckardt review the master plan vision for Cannery Park, a former brownfield near a stream tributary and rail trail targeted for future park developmen­t.
PHOTO BY LOGAN BILBROUGH Pat Esher, city planner for Cambridge, and Sen. Addie Eckardt review the master plan vision for Cannery Park, a former brownfield near a stream tributary and rail trail targeted for future park developmen­t.

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