CENTREVILLE, Md. (September 23, 2014) -- Delivering on their commitment to enhance traffic safety and meet the transportation needs of communities across the Eastern Shore, Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown today announced the start of work to construct a new interchange along US 301 (Blue Star Memorial Highway) at MD 304 (Ruthsburg Road) to replace the existing intersection.  The $49.9 million safety project was Queen Anne’s County’s top transportation priority and was made possible thanks to funding from the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013.  To celebrate the start of work, Transportation Secretary James T. Smith, Jr.; State Highway Administration (SHA) Administrator Melinda Peters; state and local elected officials; and representatives from the advocacy group Support Overpass 4 Students (SO4S) participated in a groundbreaking ceremony at the busy US 301 / MD 304 intersection.

“Thanks to the passage of the Transportation Act, we are investing more than ever to put people to work building roads, bridges and priority projects like this interchange,” said Governor O’Malley.  “Together, with communities like Centreville and organizations like Support Overpass 4 Students, we’ll continue to do the things that work to create jobs, build and restore a 21st Century transportation network, and ensure our quality of life by keeping more families safe on our roads.”

“Investments in our infrastructure create jobs, spur economic development, and help expand opportunities for Maryland families,” said Lt. Governor Brown.  “By working in partnership with our local and federal partners to move this critical project forward, we are creating a safer, more convenient route for the thousands of Eastern Shore residents and visitors who rely on this interchange each day.”

The new interchange includes a two-lane bridge carrying MD 304 over US 301 (click link for the proposed interchange).  Two single-lane roundabouts will be built along MD 304 on either side of the new bridge to safely guide drivers through the interchange.  The project also includes a new 25-space paved park and ride lot in the northwest corner of the interchange, along with bicycle-compatible shoulders on the MD 304 bridge to provide safe passage for cyclists and pedestrians.  Currently, 21,720 vehicles along US 301 and 5,220 vehicles along MD 304 travel through this intersection each day, with traffic projected to increase to 32,400 (US 301) and 7,350 (MD 304) vehicles per day by 2030.  Nearly one-quarter of all vehicles along US 301 in this area are trucks. 

“A reliable and well maintained infrastructure is vital to creating jobs today in construction and jobs tomorrow through economic growth,” said Senator Barbara Mikulski, Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee which funds the Department of Transportation. “Smart funding for Maryland’s highways and byways is laying the groundwork for our future. When completed, this interchange will improve safety and ease congestion in Queen Anne’s County, helping Marylanders get to their jobs and truckers get their cargo to its destination. These investments in our communities follow through on my commitment to stand up for jobs and improve the quality of life for all Marylanders.”

“Robust investments in multi-modal transportation infrastructure are investments in job creation and economic development across the region,” said U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Transportation Infrastructure Subcommittee.  “The federal government has been such a strong partner throughout Maryland to modernize and diversify our transportation choices.  Efforts to improve safety for all our travelers on these rural roads are incredibly important to the livability of our rural Eastern Shore communities.”

“This project is truly an example of what is possible when an entire community comes together in a common purpose with determination and unwavering commitment,” said Jennifer Fitzmaurice, one of the adult leaders of SO4S.  “On behalf of everyone who has worked to make the start of this much needed project possible, thank you for supporting this cause time and time again.”

Lindsey Rekstis, the senior class president of Queen Anne’s County High School in 2012 and now a college student in Washington, DC, was among the leading students in rallying the community in support of the new interchange.

“I am amazed that we have reached success in this process, but I am not surprised.  I knew from the moment I joined the SO4S organization that the community would not stop until they got what they deserved; a peace of mind and a reassurance that they would be safe,” said Ms. Rekstis.

As part of the project, crews will construct new J-turns at the US 301 and MD 305 intersection, north of the new interchange, and modify access on US 301 at Rolling Bridge Road to right-in, right-out only turning movement for all traffic just south of the intersection.  Crews also will enhance drainage and storm water management along the highways.

David A. Bramble, Inc. of Chestertown, Maryland, was awarded the construction contract.  Work will begin this fall and is scheduled to be complete fall 2017, weather permitting.

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.  Safer Driving. Safer Work Zones. For Everyone!

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