3:00 PM EST, December 13, 2012
I think it would be a great idea for The Sun to do one of its excellent investigative reports on the long languishing I-95 toll lane construction project that has kept the northeast side in a state of constant congestion for years now. The project began in 2006, and almost seven years later there are still only a few lane improvements, and drivers are still stuck with the same three through lanes that we've had for decades.
The area resembles a battlefield, littered with jersey walls, supplies, equipment, dead-ended lanes and partially completed segments at every turn. On any given morning, commuters from northeast Maryland cruise southward at a brisk 5 to 10 miles per hour and usually have to repeat the process northbound on the way home. Driving from Route 24 in Harford County to the Fort McHenry Tunnels can easily run an hour or more. In inclement weather, the entire stretch becomes a parking lot, although there are always the comforting overhead signs that tell travelers that the weather is bad. In several places, traffic creeps along while motorists can only look out their windows at empty stretches of long completed sections of roadway. Unfortunately, these long sections of virgin blacktop generally end in heaps of dirt and broken roadway, unfinished bridges and weathered orange barrels. It is my guess that we will be paying to have the roadway resurfaced before it sees a single commuter.
The decrepit and dangerous Route 43 bridge with its "temporary" bracing still looms over motorists, many years after it should have been replaced. At the current pace of construction, I would expect that any relief is at least two years away. In the meantime, if you are lucky enough to come upon this upheaval of roadway when traffic is actually moving, be sure not to over-accelerate because the speed cameras are working 24 hours a day, this being, after all, a "work" zone, even though there is little evidence of work or progress.
It is noteworthy that during this time on the Capital Beltway in Northern Virginia, toll lanes on a much longer stretch were conceived and built, and they are open and carrying traffic today.
D. Ebbert, Bel Air
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