NEWS RELEASE

MAJOR TRAFFIC CHANGES IN VICINITY OF I-695/CHARLES STREET INTERCHANGE BRINGS “WELCOME RELIEF” IN AUGUST

 
(August 6, 2010) – People who travel the Baltimore Beltway will see some welcome changes in addition to the new lane closures during the next few weeks.  This month, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) will institute new traffic shifts and ramp opening/closing schedules for the I-695 (Baltimore Beltway)/MD 139 (Charles Street) interchange reconstruction project.  All dates and times are weather permitting:
 
Removal of I-695 Traffic Split
• 8 p.m. Monday, August 9 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, August 10:  Crews will work overnight to remove the traffic “split” on westbound I-695 (Outer Loop) Bridge over Light Rail.  Lane closures may occur overnight on westbound I-695 and the ramp to northbound I-83.
 
• 8 p.m. Wednesday, August 11 to 5 a.m. Thursday, August 12: Crews will work overnight to remove the traffic split on eastbound I-695 (Inner Loop) Bridge over Light Rail.  Lane closures will occur overnight on eastbound I-695. 
 
Roundabout & Ramp Work
• 5 a.m. Tuesday, August 10:  Re-opening of ramp from the Bellona Avenue Roundabout to westbound      I-695 and northbound I-83. 
• 5 a.m. Tuesday, August 10:  Begin temporary two-week closure and detour of the right-turn loop ramp from northbound Charles Street to westbound I-695 to complete ramp reconstruction work.  Motorists traveling from northbound Charles Street to westbound I-695 and northbound I-83 must stay left on Charles Street and go through the roundabout to the Bellona Avenue ramp.   SHA encourages motorists traveling from Lutherville to westbound I-695 to use the York Road interchange and avoid the Bellona Roundabout during the two-week loop ramp closure.
• 5 a.m. Tuesday, August 24, weather permitting: Re-open loop ramp from NB Charles Street to westbound I-695. 

Charles Street Bridge Traffic Switch – Weekend Work
• 9 p.m. Friday, August 27 to 5 a.m. Monday, August 30: Crews will shift all Charles Street traffic from the old bridge to the new bridge.  The Charles Street Bridge will remain open to vehicular traffic during the shift, with flagging operations and intermittent traffic stoppages throughout the weekend. 
 
The ramps from southbound I-83 (Harrisburg Expressway) and eastbound I-695 to Charles Street will be temporarily detoured to the MD 45 (York Road) interchange during the weekend.  The flyover ramp from southbound I-83 to eastbound I-695 will remain open during the bridge traffic shift.
 
In case of inclement weather, the Charles Street bridge traffic shift and temporary ramp closures will take place the weekend of September 10-13.   This interchange currently carries more than 120,000 vehicles per day along I-695, with 55,000 vehicles per day along Charles Street.    
 
Additionally, the left-turn ramp from southbound Charles Street to eastbound I-695 (Inner Loop) will remain closed until late fall, and the posted detour through Lutherville will continue.
 
The speed limit on I-695 is 50 mph in the work zone between Exit 26 (MD 45-York Road) and Exit 24 (I-83 North - Baltimore-Harrisburg Expressway).   The SafeZones program (automated speed enforcement) is in effect with a $40 fine for vehicles exceeding the work zone speed limit by 12 mph or more.
 
SHA strongly recommends all motorists to plan for extra travel time along I-695 and Charles Street and to consider alternative routes during the month of August.  Please buckle up, obey posted work zone speed limits, “think orange,” and stay alert in the work zone.  Motorists can learn more about Maryland’s highway safety program by logging onto www.choosesafetyforlife.com.
 
The State’s contractor for the $38 million interchange reconstruction project is the Six-M Company of Delta, Pa.  The entire project will be complete summer 2012.  Citizens who have questions about traffic operations along I-695 and Charles Street may call the project field office at 410-296-9041 or SHA’s District Four Office in Baltimore County at 410-229-2300 or toll free at 1-866-998-0367.  Citizens may view the I-695/Charles Street project web page on SHA’s website, www.roads.maryland.gov.
 
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