In the next few weeks, commuters traveling along Md. 32 through the Town of Sykesville will find their sojourn smoother than they are used to.
The construction taking place at the intersection of Md. 32 and Sandosky Road is scheduled for completion sometime in mid-August, said Chip Bean, project manager for the developer, Catonsville Homes.
Before the construction, the intersection consisted of deceleration and turning lanes both left and right when heading south on Md. 32, and a left deceleration and turning lane when heading north, but nothing for the right. Commuters approaching from Raincliffe Road were forced to share a single lane for right and left turns and crossing the intersection, while those traveling on Sandosky Road had the use of a right deceleration and turning lane but nothing for left turns.
The construction has planned upgrades for all points of the intersection, Bean said. Turning and deceleration lanes will be added to all points that do not have them, and acceleration lanes will also be incorporated into the traffic pattern. The shoulders had to be widened to accommodate the increase in traffic due to the development on Raincliffe Road, and, as a result, if any auto collisions do occur, a widened shoulder will allow vehicles involved to pull off so as not to hinder traffic's pace anymore than it needs to, Bean said. Lastly, additional lights needed to be installed and a new traffic pattern will be put in place to control the flow of said traffic increase.
The construction was a requirement made by Sykesville before they permitted Catonsville Homes to develop the site off of Raincliffe Road, said Town Manager Dawn Ashbacher
"It was required to help with the additional traffic created by the development," Ashbacher said.
Though construction of the townhome development began in 2010, the project goes back farther than that, Bean said. The developer's plans for the intersection were first submitted in late 2006 or early 2007, he said, and were approved shortly after.
The time between plan approval and when construction began in December 2013 was spent planning the construction of the Raincliffe development and consolidating funds for both projects. However, once construction began last December, they ran into a number of problems. The State Highway Administration decided to change the plans, although Bean said he couldn't recall what those changes were. The roads, particularly Md. 32, were already way over capacity, and so most of the work was done during the night. Yet these difficulties were nothing compared to the onslaught of Mother Nature, Bean said. The State of Maryland declared the Town of Sykesville a disaster zone due to the impact this winter's severe weather had on the area.
"This was one of the worst winters we've had in years and you can't plan for that," Bean said.
The final cost of construction will be around $1.8 million, Bean said.
In spite of these setbacks, the construction moved at a fairly steady pace, Ashbacher said, and soon commuters and residents, particularly of the new Raincliffe development, will enjoy a quicker and less stressful drive to and from work.
"This should make traffic flow more smoothly at this intersection and all along [Md.] 32," she said.
Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or email him at email@example.com.