STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION BEGINS FINAL US 50 MEDIAN TRAFFIC BARRIER IMPROVEMENTS

MDOT SHA Logo

(MDOT SHA photo: MDOT SHA Logo)

(May 21, 2013) –  The State Highway Administration’s (SHA) program to  install guardrail along more than 16 miles of US 50 (Ocean Gateway) in Queen Anne’s County begins the last week of  May. Weather permitting; the project should be completed by July.

“The new median barriers are one of the most cost-effective safety programs for SHA and is one of our key strategies to reduce highway fatalities,” said Melinda B. Peters, SHA Administrator. “Over 160 miles of new traffic barriers have been installed since the program began, and after the US 50 median upgrades are complete, only a few roadways in small towns will remain for installation of new guardrails.”

SHA is installing new guardrails on US 50 from MD 8 (Romancoke Road) to MD 404 (Wye Mills-Queen Anne’s Road).  Although most work will affect shoulders, motorists may encounter intermittent single lane closures Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“The upgrading of traffic barriers in state highway medians is aimed at reducing the number and severity of cross-median crashes on divided highways in Maryland,” said Greg Holsey, SHA District 2 Engineer.  “The project will replace traffic barriers that no longer meet current standards and place new barriers where traffic warrants dictate.”

SHA awarded the $1.6 million contract to L.S. Lee, Inc. of Baltimore.  The contractor will use cones and barrels together with a flagging operation as needed, to direct traffic through the work zones along the US 50 median project.

With the completion of the traffic barrier improvements on US 50, the statewide program to enhance the safety of medians in divided highways will be 75 percent complete.  Criteria that determined where new traffic barriers are needed include the width of the median, average daily traffic count, posted speed limit, the number of crashes on the roadway and where existing hardware no longer meets current crash standards.

Cross median crashes are frequently related to severe motor vehicle collisions that have resulted in fatalities and incapacitating injuries.  The new upgraded median barriers will help prevent these severe crashes.

In conjunction with recommended Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) standards, the new barriers are at least two inches higher to allow for the greatly increased number of high center-of-gravity vehicles that currently travel on highways compared to the 1960s when a lower standard was set.

While SHA and its transportation partners work hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones, each driver needs to actively modify his or her driving style to help prevent crashes. Stay alert and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers.  Slow down and don’t follow too closely. Saver driving. Safer work zones. Benefit everyone!

Maryland now features FREE 511 traveler information!  Call 511 or 1-855-GOMD511 or visit: www.md511.org  for current travel information. Sign up to personalize travel route information through MY511 on the website. Remember to use 511 safely - Maryland law restricts hand-held mobile phone use and texting while driving.
# # #

###