Executive Summary: The Maryland State Highway Administration is working closely with the City of Aberdeen to try to accelerate the completion of the construction projects on Route 22.
The City of Aberdeen is right in the middle of the huge Maryland State Highway Administration project to widen Route 22 from APG to I-95.
For three years, construction has been ongoing, and causing serious delays at Beards Hill and 22, Mount Royal and 22, Middleton and 22, and Paradise and 22.
We invited representatives from the Maryland Department of Transportation (who is responsible for all of MD-22) to come to the Aberdeen City Council and discuss ways to speed up the projects, to make the construction more manageable for our community and businesses, and to get an idea of an expected completion date.
We learned through two City Council meetings that the project at 22 and Beards Hill is 6 months behind schedule, with an expected completion date of late 2017. The Paradise and 22 intersection is 2 months behind schedule with an expected completion date of late 2017.
The primary concern for local traffic is access to the Beards Hill and 22 intersection where cars were sitting for 4-5 light cycles at rush hour. Aberdeen businesses who attended made some good recommendations that SHA agreed to take on.
Some of them were:
- Adjusting the traffic signal timing to make accessing our local shops and restaurants easier
- Marking the limited lanes better
- Adjusting the work times (we learned that the current work schedule was 8PM – 5am weekdays, explaining why it is rare to see people working on the roadside during the day)
And SHA made some changes based on these recommendations.. They adjusted the signal timing to max-out the time for Beards Hill traffic to cross. They marked the “right-only” lanes better at Beards Hill and 22. And the put up signs that say “All businesses open during construction.”
These changes have made the traffic situation better– but we wanted to know how SHA can do this job faster. Can they work longer hours? Can they deploy more money to get more people working to get it done?
Then on Friday, May 26, SHA met came back to City Hall, this time with their Management team for the Construction project. They brought a proposal to detour Beards Hill Road after 10PM until 5am in order to get the intersection, on the McDonalds-APGFCU side done sooner.
This change will take an entire month off of the project– and if the weather is not too wet, we expect completion before August at the Beards Hill/22 intersection. We expect updates from SHA on a more regular basis so we can keep a better idea of progress.
If SHA deployed more money to get more workers working longer hours, the side-effect would be even worse traffic conditions while even more lanes are closed. Because of the potential of choking off our local businesses, this idea was put aside for now.
While this project is a long, long, long-term project, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. More to follow.