In the wake of Friday’s double-fatal accident on the Bel Air Bypass, Harford County elected officials have launched a focused effort requesting the Maryland State Highway Administration and Department of Transportation to take action and initiate a study or approve funding for the construction of protective median barriers along what they call a “dangerous highway.”
While each of the letters asks the state to move quickly on building a median barrier at the crash site, one letter from a contingent of Harford officials asks Gov. Martin O’Malley specifically to cancel plans to construct a roundabout on Route 155 in Level and funnel that money instead into a median barrier on the Bel Air Bypass.
From Sen. Glassman’s office, a press release calling the conditions on the Bel Air Bypass “a dangerous combination without a barrier”:
Northern Harford Senator Supports Calls for a Jersey-Barrier at Crash Site
Annapolis,MD Harford County State Senator Barry Glassman R- 35 has requested that the MD State Highway Administration look at installing a jersey barrier in the median of the Bel Air By-Pass where Friday’s double fatal occurred.
The Senator has observed the increasing traffic and speeds on that stretch of roadway which has two lanes in each direction without any median controls. “I just think the volume and speeds in that area is making for a danger combination without a barrier.” commented the Senator who’s District includes the Town of Bel Air. Glassman said many members of the local delegation and County Executive David Craig has also been in contact with the MD Department of Transportation.
After a traffic study is complete, officials are hopeful funds can be identified to begin the work.
In another letter also provided to The Dagger, Del. Stifler implores Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari to consider construction of a Bel Air Bypass median barrier as quickly as possible.
Dear Secretary Porcari:
As you are undoubtedly aware, a fatal accident occurred this past Friday evening, November 7, on the Bel Air Bypass North in Harford County. Tragically, a mother and her child were killed, while the husband and father of these victims remains in critical condition. Other drivers and their passengers were also injured. Unfortunately, this is the most recent and devastating of other accidents that have taken place at this exact juncture over the past months.
In order to prevent future such tragedies, I am recommending the construction of a median barrier to separate the oppositional traffic that travels this portion of dangerous highway. This particular stretch of road serves a huge volume of traffic traveling from Bel Air’s commercial center into the northern parts of the county. Vehicles travel at a comparatively high rate of speed (the posted limit is 50 miles per hour) and in close proximity in two single lanes proceeding in opposite directions. Simply reducing the speed limit will not effect the safety changes that are needed. I believe that this median is an investment that is warranted and, indeed, absolutely necessary to protect the safety of motorists traveling this highway.
I strongly encourage you to consider the construction of this barrier as quickly as possible. I know that I speak not only for my constituents but also for all citizens of the area in broaching this request.
Thank you for your service to the state of Maryland and for your consideration of this crucial matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require additional information.
Delegate, District 35A
In another letter, sent to Gov. Martin O’Malley and signed by County Executive Craig, Council President Boniface and a host of state legislators, the state is asked cancel plans to construct a roundabout on Route 155 in Level and funnel that money instead into a median barrier on the Bel Air Bypass.
Dear Governor O’Malley,
On Friday, November 7, 2008 Harford County was saddened to see the loss of the life of a mother and her ten year old son on a state road in our county. The accident also required three people to be medivaced to Maryland hospitals, where they remain in serious condition, and caused local authorities to divert traffic for several hours.
The accident occurred on the Bel Air bypass, a high-traffic route that takes traffic on Maryland Route 1 around the town of Bel Air. The bypass is a dedicated highway with traffic often traveling in excess of the 55 mph posted speed limit. Accidents are not rare on this stretch of road, and another fatal accident occurred close to the location of Friday’s tragedy only two years ago.
Despite the high rates of speed, high volume of traffic, and unacceptable loss of life along this road, it has not been improved in some time. The north and south lanes run along the same road without division between them.
It is the suggestion and request of the undersigned representatives of this stretch of Maryland highway that a jersey wall be immediately constructed along the Bel Air bypass. With our current tough fiscal budgeting, the funding for this request could be hard to find. Since it is our belief that this project demands the highest priority, it is our suggestion that the plans to construct a roundabout on Maryland Route 155 in Level be canceled, and that the funds be appropriated for the improvement of the more dangerous Harford County road on the Bel Air bypass.
David R. Craig, Harford County Executive
William Boniface, Harford County Council President
Barry Glassman, Senator, Distirct 35, Harford County
H. Wayne Norman, Delegate, District 35A, Harford County
Susan K. McComas, Delegate, District 35B, Harford County
Stacey A says
I think a Jersey barrier makes a lot of sense for that road. I blogged about it yesterday. It’s the thing that pops into your head as soon as you hear about these head-on collisions.
Phil Dirt says
Although part of the bypass is MD Route 24, the entire bypass is US Route 1, so it would be nice if there were federal funds available to fix this dangerous situation.
Jersey barriers are also needed on Rt. 1 in Fallston once you cross Rt. 152. The speeds there are also high and there are no shoulders. on the road A woman in our neighborhood was killed there a few years ago right around the Christmas holiday coming back home from shopping at White Marsh. Since our judicial system allows these renegade drivers on the roads, there is nothing we can do to stop them from driving, so we have to do what it takes to stop them from killing. Why won’t these judges open their eyes? Don’t even get me started. I hope the plan to divert the money works.
Does anyone know if they are talking about the roundabout at 155 and Paradise Rd that is planned? If it is that intersection it has had it’s fair share of accidents as well and needs to be addressed. I don’t think funds should be taken from one side of the county for another. I wonder since none of the representatives of Level, Aberdeen or Havre de Grace signed the above letter if they were asked about this and how their constituents would feel.
May-be the first thing that should be done is to lower the speed limit and use the fines from tickets to help fund the Jersey wall.
Glad swift action is being considered. Now to stop these stupid round abouts. They are a pain and hard to maneuver with a truck. They are to small. The signals in a vehicle want to turn off as you turn left and the other drivers cannot tell intentions of drivers already in the circles. This is dangerous. Roundabouts are not meant for roads of this size but rather on much larger high speed roads. They are common in Germany and New Jersey but are MUCH larger. I have always thought they were just plain stupid.
The roundabouts serve what purpose except to stroke whose personal what?
Go Dagger !