‘We’re going big’: Massive road construction season starts in Md.

Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Slater has announced that a major road construction season is underway across the state. Drivers can keep track of road projects in the state using a link provided by the SHA.

BRANDYWINE, Md. — Standing on the site of what will be a new overpass at Maryland Route 5/Branch Avenue and Brandywine Road, Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Slater announced his agency is kicking off a large-scale road construction season across the state. “We’re not inching along, we’re going big,” he said.

Drivers can keep track of road projects in the state using a link provided by the Maryland State Highway Administration. Road Ready lets drivers see exactly where they’re likely to see work zones before they hit the road.

At the Brandywine site, Slater noted Route 5 is a major commuter route from southern Maryland right up into the District of Columbia.

“This stretch carries about 65,000 cars a day, every single day,” Slater said.

He explained that the interchange will remove an at-grade signalized intersection, smoothing the traffic pattern.

Slater says that at Accokeek Road, the signalized intersection will be transformed into a roundabout, again smoothing the traffic pattern.

He also says there will also be a park and ride lot along that stretch of Route 5. “Park and ride lots in Southern Maryland are at a premium, so we’re trying to add more space so that people that are interested in ride-sharing can do that.”

While highway officials want to cut driver commuter times, they’re also asking drivers to take care as they approach work zones.

Laurie Moser is the widow of a state highway worker who was killed in a work zone in 2007.

She is now a safety advocate, and urges drivers to look at work zones differently.

“Drivers get annoyed because they have to slow down, but they have to understand that in order to have better roadways, the work has to happen,” Moser said.

When approaching a work zone, “Use that time to rest, chill, relax — do whatever you can — but change your mindset,” she added.

Henry Alfred, Workplace Safety Manager with SHA, says he sees all kinds of risky behavior by drivers approaching work zones.

The worst?

“Oh, cellphones, by far,” he said, referring to how many drivers are intent on their phones, either making calls or texting.

But cellphones aren’t the only issue. Lots of drivers seem to use their cars as reading rooms, according to Alfred.

“They have papers in their lap, reading with papers on their steering wheel,” he said.

Alfred notes that drivers are apt to become more distracted as they slow down, assuming they can manage to drive and read at lower speeds.

He asks motorists to keep their focus on the roads.

“We don’t want anybody hurt,” Alfred said.

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