Drivers through Bel Air may have recently noticed construction work in the median of Route 24 just north of Boulton Street.
Charlie Gischlar, of the State Highway Administration, said Thursday the work is related to drainage and improving water quality in the Chesapeake Bay.
They have designed drainage systems that not only get water off the roads, but also improve the quality for the watershed, and are installing them in Harford and Baltimore counties, Gischlar added.
This also involves bioretention swales, which Gischlar said will be made up of different layers of sands and rocks to filter the water and slow it down as well.
"This is one part of the project that we are starting here," he said. "There is going to be a lot going along that corridor."
The whole project is expected to be completed by next spring and will include the planting of trees as well. The trees can also slow down water velocity, Gischlar said, and absorb nutrients the SHA does not want in the Chesapeake Bay.
All of this is part of a measure from the federal government, called total maximum daily load, which was created to see how many pollutants there were in bodies of water, according to Gischlar.
Through the drainage systems, Gischlar said they were trying to filter the water coming off hard surfaces.
"It's a very good thing because it's going to clean the water quality for everyone who uses the bay," he added.
Other SHA improvements
Changes will be coming much sooner to the intersection at Route 24 and Ring Factory Road, also in Bel Air.
The State Highway Administration plans to change the phasing of the lights there, which will affect traffic on Ring Factory on either side of Route 24.
Now, Gischlar said, the light turns green for both sides of Ring Factory Road and when people have to stop and yield, it backs up traffic, making the intersection "inefficient."
They have no plans to change the length of the lights, but Gischlar said it will be changed to a split phase light. This means that instead of the lights on either side turning green at the same time, one side of the road would get the green light while the other waits.
It will not take any time away from Route 24, he added, and will still have roughly the same amount of time for Ring Factory, just slightly shorter for each side.
"It's going to work out pretty well," he said.
This project is expected to be completed by late July or early August, he added.