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By Guy Leonard, The County Times
HOLLYWOOD, Md. -- With the state having virtually no funds to undertake a major road widening and improvement project on Route 5, officials with the State Highway Administration (SHA) are hoping increased signage warning drivers to slow down will help continual traffic jams and crashes on the heavily traveled roadway.
An SHA presentation to County Commissioners showed by 2022 the four-lane road through Leonardtown will start to fail, though it is adequate for the current traffic flow.
SHA is already working on a $2.3 million study of Route 5 improvement options, bounded by the intersections of routes 243 and 245, but even short-term small projects to either widen the road or put in an extra turn lane have been deemed too expensive.
SHA now plans to move ahead with augmented lane use pavement markings, overhead signs that warn of left turns and signs that emphasize the proper speed limits.
Leonardtown Mayor Dan Burris said town officials will take a closer look at the plans to see how they will affect traffic.
In the interim, however, Burris is pleased that SHA at least took some action.
“It is a positive thing that they’re looking at temporary improvements,” he told The County Times. “We have to look at see exactly what they’re doing.”
The corridor study showed that speeds often exceed the 40 mph posted limit, often by 12 mph or more.
The report also showed that south of Moakley Street the crash rate is still well above the statewide average, with left turn related crashes being the most prevalent.
Laschelle McKay, town administrator, said that Leonardtown government is still looking for ways to make interconnectivity a priority by building streets and roads through major developments.
It is good to have at least some assistance from the state, she said.
“I wish there was more, but it’s a difficult problem,” McKay said.
Read more local stories from The County Times and the Calvert Gazette at somd.me/countytimes