The speed limit along U.S. Route 1 in Elkridge and Laurel will be reduced from 50 mph to 45 mph this week, a permanent move determined by a traffic engineering study conducted by the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration.
Top posted speeds will be reduced between Montevideo Road and Ducketts Lane in Elkridge and Whiskey Bottom Road and Hicks Road in Laurel. The change brings consistency throughout the 9-mile corridor, according to the highway administration.
Data from the study revealed that a reduced speed limit was needed “to enhance the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists,” the highway administration said in a news release.
Traffic analysts looked at speed, the amount of cars on the road and traffic-demand data.
“Howard County and MDOT SHA are working together to address and enhance pedestrian safety along U.S. 1,” highway administration district engineer John Concannonan said in a statement.
The study was conducted in part with Howard County’s U.S. 1 Safety Evaluation on Bicyclists and Pedestrian Safety released in February.
Happening simultaneously, a new construction project by MDOT SHA — to include a full traffic signal, crosswalk and new sidewalks — is beginning at the U.S. 1 and Kit Kat Road intersection in Elkridge.
The $1.7 million project is expected to be completed by next summer.
The project includes converting the existing flashing signal to a full traffic signal, complete with countdown pedestrian signals; adding sidewalks compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act; a new entrance for the Washington Boulevard Marketplace (formerly the US 1 Flea Market) along U.S. 1; widening the roadway to extend the right-turn lane along northbound U.S. 1 to Kit Kat Road; and a new crosswalk.
A single-lane closure can be expected Mondays through Fridays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
During construction, the highway administration is urging drivers to stay alert and focused on the road.
“Drive like you work here and please slowdown in construction zones,” the agency said.