Tuesday, October 14, at the Abingdon Fire Hall, representatives from the Maryland Transportation Authority held a public workshop on the I-95 and MD 24/MD 924 planned improvements. The presentation consisted of engineers and department spokesmen who stationed themselves at large diagrams of the project phases and road changes. Now is the time to plan your alternate routes into Baltimore, to B.J.’s and Regal Cinema. Stock up on car snacks and good music for those traffic backups and construction delays.
Phase I will begin in the end of October or early November and will involve constructing a new temporary intersection at MD 24 and MD 924/Tollgate Road, south of the existing intersection. Drivers should expect traffic to back onto MD 24 during peak hours as a result of a reduced merge distance on the ramp from southbound MD24 to southbound I-95. This phase should be completed by late February or early March, 2009, dependent upon weather conditions.
Phase II will run from spring, 2009 to fall, 2010 with completion of a new ramp from southbound MD 24 to southbound I-95. New ramps will also be constructed at the MD 24 and MD 924/Tollgate Road interchange. Construction will begin on a bridge to route traffic on MD 24 over the MD 924/Tollgate Road intersection. Before the bridge construction begins, the existing east and westbound MD24 lanes at the MD 924 intersection will be moved outward from each other, expanding the work area between them so that the bridge can be constructed above what is now the median strip.
Phase III begins fall, 2010 with an anticipated completion time in spring, 2011. This phase includes completion of the MD 24 bridge over the MD 924 and Tollgate Road intersection. Widening of the current bridge over I-95 and new ramps from I-95 onto MD 24 will be the focus of this part of the project. Watch for temporary shifts in traffic to facilitate construction and paving.
This is a huge $38 million project aimed at improving the traffic flow and safety of this area of the county. Currently the MD 24 and MD 924/Tollgate Road intersection is the scene of many car accidents. MTA engineers hope that the new traffic patterns will help to limit the accident possibilities. Anticipated completion should coincide with the final implementation of BRAC. Traffic delays and back-ups are guaranteed. Closures of these intersections and road segments will be limited to evenings and 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. MTA engineers assured those in attendance that they would work to ease traffic flow as much as possible during the morning and evening rush hours.
Fliers detailing the project phases were distributed. All diagrams and specific improvement plan information is said to be available at http://www.mdtransportationauthority.com. Click on “Capital Projects” on the left side of the home page or email your questions or comments. Recorded project information is also available by calling 1-877-368-1141. Staff in attendance reported that you can leave messages at this phone number and they will return your call within two business days. Check this site on a regular basis for construction updates, road and lane closures and shifts in traffic patterns. The diagrams will help to better understand the coming changes as this is a complicated project.
As we left this meeting, I told my husband that I was already thinking of alternative ways to get where I need to go. He said, “I’m thinking it is time to move.”
Although this project is much needed, three years of construction and confusion at one of the county’s major intersections is a long time.