Residents in West County who have driveways that empty directly onto accident-plagued Route 32 will soon have what state and county officials say will be a safer way to leave their property.
The State Highway Administration plans to redirect the driveways to a private road, a change state and county officials say will "lessen the risk and probability of serious accidents along MD 32," according to a news release issued Tuesday, Aug. 2.
The SHA recently received $709,000 from the Federal Highway Administration to help fund the driveway relocation. Instead of having direct access to Route 32, private driveways will now empty out onto Wellworth Way, a private road.
County officials expect to acquire the land necessary to redirect the driveways within the next year.
The change is one answer to long-standing safety and congestion complaints from residents who live along Route 32.
West Friendship resident Mary Jo Neil, who lives on nearby Regents Row, which connects with the two-lane part of Route 32, said the improvement is a positive step.
"This was necessary for many reasons," she said. "You don't have turn lanes, so the person (trying to get into their driveway) is just sitting there like a sitting duck and if somebody behind them doesn't see them it could be bad."
In addition to the driveway relocation project, other improvements are also planned as part of the larger effort to increase the safety of the heavily traveled road. The improvements include:
• the preliminary engineering phase for the Route 32 at Day Road improvements, which include the addition and extension of several lanes;
• providing separate left-turn lanes where Route 32 intersects with River Road, Amberwoods Way and Day Road;
• installation of three oversized warning signs on Route 32, between Route 99 and the Carroll County line, with the message: "Pay Attention-Watch for Left Turning Traffic"
• installation of rumble strips on southbound Route 32 approaching Day Road; and,
• resurfacing a section of Route 32 between Emory Farm Lane and River Road.