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May 15, 2009

Roundabout we go in Carroll County

Drivers in the Hampstead area will have to be ready to go around in circles next week as the State Highway Administration partially opens its new southern roundabout along the Hampstead Bypass.

The new roundabout, located where Maryland Route 30 (Hanover Pike) meets the bypass near Wolf Hill Drive, will change the traffic pattern on Route 30 beginning Thursday about 8 p.m., weather permitting.

Initially, the highway administration will open the roundabout to northbound and southbound driving only. The $41 million bypass itself will not open until summer. As part of next week's change, the current direct access from Wolf Hill Drive to Route 30 will be permanently closed.

While roundabouts frequently prompt grumbling from motorists, the highway administration contends they are a proven lifesaver that all but eliminates dangerous T-bone crashes at intersections where the traffic circles are installed.

Just remember: Yield to traffic already in the circle. It's easy once you get the hang of it.

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:08 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: On the roads


The reason folks don't like traffic circles is the same reason they work; they force the driver to slow down and pay attention.

Yield to traffic in the circle is transparent; however, when the yield signs are on the left and the right almost simultaneously as they are in the circles (note the S) in front of the North Carroll High School that are part of the Hampstead Bypass, then one's head is turning left and right and it becomes frightening to see the cars dashing from both directions in front of you. Or perhaps the car that you are following sees one of those dashing cars at the last minute and makes a rapid stop. You will want to hope you have time to stop before you plow into him and this applies to the cars behind you. This is a dangerous site and I regret that it is part of my traveling life now and pray that something can be done to change the patterns in this part of the newly opened Hampstead Bypass on 482 from 30 to 27.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.

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