(MDOT SHA photo: MDOT SHA Logo)

(June 24, 2015) – The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is upgrading highway lights and overhead signs on MD 695 (Baltimore Beltway) between Cove Road and Chesaco Avenue in Eastern Baltimore County. The $6.3 million, three mile project is currently underway and should be completed by fall 2017, weather permitting.

The existing highway lighting systems in this area date back to the construction of the Beltway in the 1960s and 1970s and are being replaced with brighter and more energy efficient lighting systems.  Older, high-pressure sodium lights on high mast poles are inefficient and prone to repeated maintenance. By replacing the older lights with LED systems and using shorter light poles, light will be focused more directly on I-695 and not be wasted on grassy surfaces.  As a result of the lighting upgrades, SHA can realize an energy savings of more than 35 percent, which equates to nearly $25,000 annually. In addition to new light poles and LED lights, the aging underground wiring conduits and cables will be replaced.

“The lighting systems along our infrastructure are showing their age, so we continue to look to new technologies to save money and increase efficiency,” said SHA District Engineer  David Peake. “The new LED lighting systems will require less maintenance and improve overall lighting reliability for the safety of thousands of drivers on the Beltway.”

The project also includes installing 23 new sign structures that will help improve sign visibility by using larger lettering, which improves nighttime sign awareness and faster word recognition. New sign backgrounds or sheeting will also be more reflective for greater visibility at night and during bad weather. Finally, SHA is upgrading existing ground mounted signs and replacing aging guide, warning and regulatory signs.

There will be occasional single lane closures, but most of the work will take place out of the active travel lanes. SHA’s contractor for the job is Bruce and Merrilees Electric Company of New Castle, PA. 

Drivers are cautioned to plan accordingly during their commute while the project is underway. SHA’s e-Road Ready 2015 brochure lists all of the state’s major highway projects.
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