US 220 @ I-68 Geometric Improvements Project # AL419 Update Stephen A. Bucy Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) Overview • Project Background • Current Project • Schedule • Questions Project Background • Issue: Safety Concerns with Undersized Merge Area onto EB I-68 from combined NB US 220 and Fletcher Dr high-speed ramp – NB US 220 and Fletcher Dr Ramps are < 1,000 ft apart – Curbed grass separation adjacent to I-68 required to combine the merge area for both ramps Safety Issues with Small Merge Area Fletcher Dr Ramp US 220 NB Ramp Project Background • Issue: Direct access from SB US 220/Greene St to EB I-68 is NOT provided at the interchange – Traffic must take a circuitous route on local residential streets to get to the Fletcher Dr Ramp No Left Turn Ramp to EB I-68 Project Background • 2006: Determined the Way Ahead – Change the Fletcher Dr ramp to restricted access – Eliminate a section of the grass median, which allows the ramp merge area to be extended significantly – Provide direct access from SB US 220/Greene St to EB I-68 at the interchange • 2007: SHA initiated a engineering concept study • 2008: Final report came in with 2 primary interchange alternatives – 1: Roundabout – 2: Left/U-Turn Lane (Included Signal) • 2008: Roundabout Alternative was chosen – SHA initiated a design contract – SHA Roundabout Design Team made improvement recommendations Project Background • 2008: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Concurs • 2009: Project design progress temporarily halted due to statewide funding issues • 2010: Concrete interchange area transferred from City to SHA • 2010: Project design funding restored – Final Design Review Meeting in Dec 2010 • Project to include full depth pavement to replace concrete pavement through interchange • Project to include paving below the interchange to a point near the Industrial Park entrance • 2010: Project construction funding secured • 2011: Project design completed Current Project • Extended Merge Area – Large section of grass median eliminated – Allows the ramp merge area to be extended significantly New End of Curb New Gate Grass Median Eliminated Current Project • Roundabout “U-About” Concept at the interchange Current Project • Project Benefits: – Addressed the safety issues at the EB I-68 Exit 42 on-ramp • • • • Remove large section of grass median Extends merge/acceleration area Better operation of the merge Reduces back-ups on ramp that are currently observed during peak periods Removes the conflict point between Fletcher Dr ramp movement and the US 220 ramp – Provides access from SB US 220/Greene St to EB I-68 at the interchange • Simplifies access to the Interstate • Provides access for all types of vehicles at Exit 42 from West Side • Reduces traffic on local residential streets (Fayette, Gephart, and Fletcher) Current Project • Project Benefits: – Full depth replacement of all the problematic concrete pavement – Pavement job extends south to a point near the Industrial Park – Interchange lighting upgrades – Drainage improvements – Signage upgrades – Traffic Calming Current Project • Project Questions: – Will emergency vehicles and/or the Armory have access to the old ramp? New Gate – Yes – The gate will be padlocked and applicable emergency services organizations as well as the Armory personnel will be issued keys for emergency use Current Project • Project Questions: – Will there be any problems accessing the City Pump Station? New Gate – No – The gate will be located below the pump station entrance, so there will be no access issues Current Project • Project Questions: – Will residents in Fletcher Dr area have access to the old ramp? – No New Gate • The old ramp will be closed to public access • Do Not Enter and “For Use of Authorized and Emergency Use Vehicles Only” signs will be installed • Residents will have to travel to one of the other EB I-68 onramps – Note: This also means less overall traffic on the local residential streets Current Project • Project Questions: – Why is the “Passing lane” on NB US 220 before the interchange being eliminated? • The second lane was never a “Passing lane,” but the start of the divide where one lane would go to EB I-68 and the other to WB I-68 • Today’s tractor trailers have sufficient power to compare with the climbing power of passenger vehicles • Note: There will still be a separate left turn lane into the Park & Ride facility Current Project • Project Questions: – Was consideration given to NB US 220 vehicles having to yield on an upgrade? • Yes • There may be slight back-ups during peak traffic periods of the day • The yield scenario is preferred over coming to a complete stop, many times unnecessarily, at a traffic signal – How does this project relate to the future US 220 Corridor? • The 2 issues are independent • This project meets an immediate need & is managed by SHA’s District 6 office in LaVale • City officials and local SHA staff were recently updated on the status of the US 220 Corridor Tier One Planning Study, led by the state of West Virginia • Although there is progress on the US 220 Corridor, there is still much work to be done • Project Questions: Current Project – Why are we installing another roundabout? • Addressed the left turn at a severe angle that previously could not be navigated • The engineering study showed that a roundabout offered a better level of service than a signal at this specific location • Other advantages: – – – – – Improves intersection safety Keeps traffic moving Reduces unnecessary stops Reduces air pollution Minimal maintenance required after construction Project Schedule • Spring 2011: Project goes out for bid • Summer 2011: Project will be awarded • Fall 2011: Site preparation work to begin • 2012: Majority of construction activity will occur – “U-About” opened – Fletcher Dr ramp changed to restricted access only Other Questions?