The morning commute onto Aberdeen Proving Ground will get a little trickier in coming months as the State Highway Administration plans to cut a new, temporary left-hand turn into the intersection of Route 715 and Route 40 while construction proceeds on the interchange.
The new signal may provide another headache to workers in the area who have already seen local roads clogged with thousands of new arrivals who were part of the Army’s Base Realignment and Closure effort, completed in mid-September.
Improvements to the Route 715 have just begun, with completion of the $18 million project expected in mid-summer 2013, according to the SHA, but plans for improvements along Route 22 have not moved forward.
The SHA update comes two weeks before the state’s Department of Transportation is scheduled to present to the Aberdeen city council and local residents their plans to create a mixed-use transit, commercial, and residential facility centered around the Aberdeen railroad station. The area has recently been designated as a “Transit Oriented Development” area, marking it as a key location for expansion and development.
Route 715/Route 40
Work began recently on the first phase of the Route 715/Route 40 project, a widening and repaving effort stretching along Route 715 from the APG main gate to the Amtrak/MARC railroad bridge. The second, more complex phase remains on the drawing board pending approval of a final detailed design, according to SHA Community Liaison Fran Ward.
One of the key features of the overall plan for the interchange is an expanded, two-lane ramp off of Route 40 onto southbound Route 715. To accomplish the work, Ward said the SHA plans to create a temporary left-hand turn lane, which will cut through the existing median barrier and across the westbound lanes of Route 40 onto the existing ramp from those lanes onto southbound Route 715.
“In order to relocate and widen [the existing Route 715 southbound ramp], which will require a great deal of earthwork, SHA will temporarily close the ramp and install a temporary full signal on westbound US 40 adjacent to [the Route 715 northbound intersection with Route 40, a median break, and a left turn lane and left-turn signal for eastbound US 40, and provide a temporary spur for left-turn access from eastbound US 40…to MD 715 southbound and APG,” Ward said.
Ward said an open house to display to the public the final designs and detail a construction schedule would be held early next year.
A diagram of the planned final design for the interchange provided by Ward, and her full explanation, follow:
SHA presented concepts to the public at a open house/public meeting in January 2008 in Aberdeen
Alternate 1 was selected – you asked about an “end state” – this diagram depicts all future design attributes, such as the numbers of lanes and ramp configurations and the widening of the bridge over US 40. SHA is not widening the bridge over AMTRAK/MARC but will re-mark it to provide an additional lane.
SHA’s project team includes Aberdeen Proving Ground, the City of Aberdeen and Harford County.
Governor O’Malley announced the project funding at an event along US 40 in December 2009
Lt. Governor Brown hosted the groundbreaking ceremony along MD 715 in October 2010
The total design-build contract is $18 million.
Construction is underway for Phase 1 (APG Gate to AMTRAK/MARC bridge) by American Infrastructure of Fallston – Phase 1 was partially designed by SHA to facilitate an advanced start date
Final Design is underway for Phase 2 (AMTRAK/MARC bridge to US 40 interchange) – Conceptual design completed by SHA, “Design-Build” team of American Infrastructure and JMT Engineering of Sparks, MD to finalize design work (benefits include reduced overall project schedule) and obtain needed approvals and permitting.
SHA and the design-build team are planning on hosting another open house meeting to acquaint the public with the final design of the selected alternate and projected construction schedule for Phase 2 in winter 2012 (date TBA)
The projected overall completion date is mid-summer 2013.
But the expansion and evolution of the county’s transportation infrastructure remains mostly on the drawing board, drawing criticism from state Sen. Nancy Jacobs. Work has begun on a widening of Route 715 near the APG gate, but has progressed little further than approximately 200 yards of an unstriped, unusable extra lane and a sign promising the expansion’s completion in spring 2013.
In response to Jacobs’ complaints, the SHA announced plans to widen the intersection of Route 7 and Route 40, but work has not commenced.
As plans progress to lighten the load on local roads, the state Department of Transportation on Oct. 13 will present details to the Aberdeen city council and to local residents on how they would turn the Aberdeen rail station into a mixed-use hub.
The designation as a “Transit Oriented Development” focus area is intended to bring greater state support to the creation of a joint transit, commercial, and residential complex around the stop, similar to that at Symphony Center in Northern Baltimore and under development at the Owings Mills Metro Station, Savage MARC Station, and Odenton MARC station. Labeled by local leaders as a place for residents to “live, work, and play,” the projects still in development have spent years on the drawing board, and required investments of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The project would also require changes to current MARC service at the station. Currently, only one northbound morning train from the Baltimore area stops at Aberdeen, arriving at 7:42 a.m. In the afternoon, only two southbound trains stop at that station: a pricey Amtrak ride departing at 5:19 p.m. and a later MARC train at 6:33 p.m.
A MDOT presentation to the public is scheduled for 4:15 p.m., followed by an “open house” from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and a presentation to the city council at 6 p.m. All are invited to attend.