Sunday, August 3, 2014

(Updated) Short-Term Traffic Issues - 8/3/14

(Updated 8/10/14 to make more generically useful)

Especially since we have fewer options with Gorman Road temporarily closed for construction, you might want to check traffic conditions in the next couple of weeks before heading out.

  • Maryland's CHART web site posts notices of many major road and lane closures

In particular both the State of Maryland (responsible for highways such as I-95 and MD-216) and Howard County (responsible for local roads and side streets) have accelerated the pace of construction this summer, in part due to increased funding from the gas tax.

Some known traffic events:

  • The State is doing a lot of repaving of I-95 near the MD-216 exit that we use to access the interstate. This leads to both periodic closures of some lanes on I-95 to accommodate the re-paving as well as closures of some of the ramps on MD-216. Many but not all of the closures occur at night.
    • Exit 35 of I-95 (both the exit from I-95 to MD-216W, as well as the ramp from MD-216W to I-95S) has been closed at times for repaving. 
      • In particular, the on-ramp to I-95S has been milled down and has been closed at times after 9 PM, leading to a detour of about 3 miles requiring a U-turn at the traffic light at Crest Road, past Leishear Road).
    • In recent days, the ramp from MD-216E onto Stephens Road has been closed at times with a detour that takes you to a lefthand turn onto All Saints Road. 
      • This of course means that the Gorman Road detour via Stephens Road has had a detour as well.
    • Some lanes of I-95 have been closed for roadwork between Exit 35 and Exit 38 (from MD-216 to MD-32). This caused severe congestion on I-95 Northbound near us at times on Saturday, 8/2/14.
      • Update: Things looked pretty clear on Sunday during the day so hopefully the issues were an anomaly, or due to overnight work. Maybe posting about traffic problems is similar to the principle of carrying an umbrella to ward off rain...

I-95 Closure Notice from the State of Maryland's CHART Site

  • Construction continues for the MD-200 (ICC) interchanges.
    • Two new exits on I-95 have been built south of MD-198 and a work zone remains in place on I-95.
    • MD-200 is being extended to US-1, with an intersection being constructed now near the Muirkirk MARC station (about a mile south of Contee Road). This has resulted in some lane closures on Route 1.
  • Gorman Road remains closed between Skylark Boulevard and Murray Hill Road, though hopefully it will re-open soon if the mid-August schedule holds.
    • Unrelated repaving of Gorman Road from the I-95 overpass to US-1 seems to have been mostly completed, but paving of the side streets and re-striping still need to be performed.
  • Traffic in Downtown Columbia can also be affected by major concerts at Merriweather Post Pavilion
    • This past weekend was The Mad Decent Block Party (Friday) and The Summer Spirit Festival (Saturday). 
    • The next very large event looks to be WPOC's Sunday in the Country on the weekend of October 4-5.
  • On May 29th, the State of Maryland and Howard County broke ground on new projects to eliminate bottlenecks on US-29 and MD-32, funded largely by the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013.
    • US-29 will be widened in a $32.7M project from two lanes to three between Seneca Drive (just north of MD-32) up to MD-175 (Little Patuxent Parkway), with completion expected in 2016. [video]
    • MD-32 will also be widened near I-70 in an $8.75M project to improve the safety of the road after several traffic fatalities in the area. A center turn lane, acceleration and deceleration areas, and bicycle lanes on the shoulders will be added. Work is expected to be completed in Fall 2015.
    • In addition, the State has announced funding to add lanes to US-29 near the Montgomery County line (on the southern border of Howard County).
Further afield in our area:

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