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BALTIMORE (April 14, 2008) -- Southern Marylanders who are planning to travel onto the Capitol Beltway this weekend are advised to avoid the interchange at MD Route 5. On Saturday night, April 19, as part of the State Highway Administration's (SHA) $52 million interchange project along MD 5 at I-95/I-495 (Capital Beltway), SHA will begin setting structural steel for the southbound Capital Beltway flyover ramp to southbound MD 5 (Branch Avenue.)
The steel placement will require a temporary closure of southbound I-95 for up to 14 hours and a temporary closure of northbound I-95 for up to twelve hours, weather permitting.
The SHA says closures are necessary to ensure worker and motorist safety as 12 twenty-ton, curved steel beams are erected and bolted together directly over the travel lanes of I-95. In addition, five massive cranes needed to lift the beams will be on the I-95 travel lanes, necessitating the total road closures.
The operation was originall scheduled for the weekend of April 4, but was called off because of storm warnings.
All lanes along both directions of I-95 and the southbound MD 5 ramp to northbound I-95 are expected to re-open to traffic by 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 20.
To avoid major delays, motorists are strongly encouraged to use alternate routes, says the SHA. Motorists from the north traveling through the Washington region to points south are encouraged to use I-495 across the American Legion Bridge. Motorists from the east along US 50 should consider US 301 south, or continue along US 50 to MD 295, which turns into I-295 in Washington D.C. and connects back with I-95 near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
Local traffic heading south along MD 295 (Baltimore Washington Parkway), US 50 (John Hanson Highway), MD 214 (Central Avenue) and MD 4 (Pennsylvania Avenue) should use MD 295 or US 50 to I-295 into Washington DC. I-295 connects with I-95 near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
SHA has coordinated with the Virginia Department of Transportation to use dynamic message signs (DMS) to alert motorists to the delays expected along northbound I-95 and divert through traffic along the west side of I-95/I-495.
SHA will use overhead DMS as well as additional static signs along southbound I-95 between the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) and Capital Beltway, southbound MD 295 (Baltimore-Washington Parkway), westbound US 50 and along southbound I-95 in Prince George's County.
The overall I-95/MD 5 project began in March 2006 and is expected to be completed by summer 2009, weather permitting. SHA's contractor for the project is Cherry Hill Construction of Jessup.
SHA released the following details regarding scheduling of the construction:
SOUTHBOUND I-95 (INNER LOOP OF THE BELTWAY)
-- Beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday, the contractor will begin closing lanes of southbound I-95, diverting traffic onto the two-lane ramp to Branch Avenue. Motorists will be detoured to a double-left turn onto Auth Road, across the MD 5 intersection and back to southbound I-95.
-- Traffic signal timing will provide the maximum timing for the I-95 traffic being detoured. Major delays are expected along I-95, Auth Road and MD 5 in the area.
-- Two lanes along southbound I-95 should re-open by 10 a.m. Sunday morning, though the contract does permit a total closure through 1 p.m. All lanes are expected to open by 1 p.m.
SOUTHBOUND MD 5 RAMP TO NORTHBOUND I-95
-- SHA will also close the ramp from southbound MD 5 to northbound I-95 between 8 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
-- Traffic will be diverted to the MD 5/MD 337 intersection to access northbound I-95.
-- The ramp traffic must be detoured as the right shoulder along northbound I-95 will be used as a through lane, meaning ramp traffic would have no merge area.
-- SHA suggests either MD 458 (Silver Hill Road) to MD 4 (Pennsylvania Avenue) or MD 414 (Saint Barnabas Road), which both connect to I-95 as an alternate during the ramp closure.
NORTHBOUND I-95 (OUTER LOOP OF THE BELTWAY)
-- SHA will close two left lanes of northbound I-95 beginning 8 p.m. Saturday night, April 19. Two right lanes will remain open.
-- ALL LANES ALONG NORTHBOUND I-95 WILL CLOSE between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, April 20. Traffic will be diverted onto the ramp to southbound MD 5 (Branch Avenue) to MD 337 (Allentown Road) to the I-95/MD 337 interchange, where motorists can access northbound I-95.
-- SHA and the contractor will do everything possible to re-open a single right lane along northbound I-95 by 8 a.m. on Sunday, April 20.
-- All lanes along northbound I-95 should be open by 1 p.m. Sunday, April 20.