(April 17, 2015) – Starting Tuesday, April 21, MD 144 (W. Washington Street) will be closed at its intersection with Western Maryland Parkway (MD 910C) near Hagerstown due to construction. To improve safety and traffic flow, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is replacing the intersection with a roundabout.
Until late summer, through traffic on MD 144 will be detoured using US 40 (National Pike). Western Maryland Parkway will remain open and may experience heavier-than-usual traffic volumes during peak travel times. Motorists may also encounter additional lane closures between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Motorists traveling in this area are advised to plan ahead to allow a few extra minutes of travel time during construction.

The intersection at MD 144 and Western Maryland Parkway is currently a four-legged, two-way-stop intersection with stop signs on the Western Maryland Parkway legs. SHA has observed a significant increase in truck and passenger-car volumes on Western Maryland Parkway and MD 144. The roundabout will address traffic operations and safety concerns by helping move traffic on Western Maryland Parkway through the intersection safely and efficiently while keeping traffic on MD 144 flowing. SHA’s contractor for the $1.6 million project is Craig Paving, Inc., of Hagerstown. Weather permitting, the project will be complete by winter 2015.

Roundabouts or circular intersections in which entering vehicles must yield to traffic already in the circle, offer substantial safety and cost-saving benefits over traffic signals and stop signs. At intersections in Maryland where roundabouts have been installed at existing intersections, crashes of all types have been reduced by more than 60 percent, and injury crashes have been reduced by more than 75 percent. Roundabouts safely move a greater volume of traffic at intersections, without the expense of constructing and maintaining a traffic signal.

The spring and summer construction season is getting into high gear.  For a statewide listing of most SHA projects, click here for e-Road Ready 2015.

In addition to this project, drivers may also encounter mobile or short-term work zones. Always expect the unexpected, pay extra close attention and drive slowly through any work zone. Whether it’s a tree trimming operation or a bridge project, be aware when orange is there: Think Orange (the color of construction equipment and signs), stay alert and slow down.  Everyone is at risk.

In four out of five work zone-related crashes, it is the driver or passenger who is injured or killed. In 2014, nine people lost their lives in Maryland work zone crashes, including four highway workers. While SHA and its transportation partners work hard to keep traffic safely moving in work zones, please partner with us because work zone safety is everyone’s business – slow down and stay alert.  Safer driving. Safer work zones. For everyone.