Today, we’re looking at some of the more than 100 projects the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will be supervising this spring and summer.
These stand out from the pack, because they may be very disruptive for commuters in the D.C. region, or because they’ll have a big impact when done, or just because they’re weird.
Capital Beltway bridge over the Northwest Branch, Silver Spring.
●Project: Replacement of the eight-lane bridge began last spring and is scheduled to be completed this fall. Over the past year, tens of thousands of drivers have experienced the congestion that can result from lane narrowings and shifts, even at peak periods when all the lanes are open. About 55,000 drivers have received speed camera tickets for violating the 55 mph limit, which is impressive considering the number of hours that traffic is bumper to bumper.
But the work so far has been relatively easy on drivers. The concrete barriers have been off to the sides. In coming months, the work zones will move into the middle of each Beltway loop. Rush-hour drivers still will have four open lanes, but they’ll have to maneuver around those middle barriers.
●Work zone: New Hampshire Avenue bridge over the Beltway, Silver Spring.
●Project: A year-long rehabilitation started this spring on the ramp that takes traffic from northbound New Hampshire Avenue over the Capital Beltway and to the outer loop. Project managers decided there wasn’t enough room to keep part of the ramp open during the current phase, so they shut it until midsummer.
Drivers must detour down the inner loop to the College Park park-and-ride lot at Interstate 95, then get on the outer loop. The SHA estimates it adds at least 15 minutes to normal commuting times. Some drivers are trying to dodge the detour by continuing north on New Hampshire Avenue and making a U-turn onto another outer loop ramp. It’s a tricky maneuver in heavy traffic, with a short light cycle. Not recommended.
Intercounty Connector, Interstate 95 to Route 1, Laurel.
●Project: The eastern part of the six-lane highway will be under construction from this spring through late 2013. Although only a mile long, this is the biggest new thing on the list, taking a highway discussed for more than a half-century to its eastern limit.
The final segment will have a partial interchange at Virginia Manor Road and an intersection controlled by traffic signals at Route 1 near the Muirkirk MARC station. This phase also includes construction of separated, parallel lanes along I-95 between the ICC and the Route 198 interchange, so traffic can merge safely at exits, the SHA said.