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January 27, 2010

I-95 ramps to Beltway to close tonight, tomorrow

Late-night travelers be warned: Getting onto the Baltimore Beltway from Interstate 95 south of the city could be tricky.

According to the State  Highway Administration, the ramps from northbound  and southbound I-95  to westbbound Interstate 695 will close tonight and tomorrow night at 11 p.m. and  remain closed until 5 a.m. Travelers will be diverted onto eastbound I-695, where they will be directed to the Hollins Ferry Road exit, where they can circle around to get on the westbound Beltway.

The highway agency said the closings will  allow  road crews to place pavement markings and set up concrete barriiers as part of a $3 million plan to widen the I-95 westbound ramps -- now the scene of frequent backups. The entire project  is expected  to take until fall to complete. Additional midday and overnight closings are expected as work progresses on the project.

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 2:39 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: On the roads
        

Comments

This will be decidedly disruptive. One wonders what the new design will be, and how much that could relive congestion. Off-handedly, the phyiscal constraints there would seem to limit drastic improvement in flow or capacity. $3 million isn't that much money to change much.

Nate Payer
TRAC

If Maryland gets more highway money as part of a new jobs bill as expected, SHA should finish replacing the Inner Loop bridge over US 1 that's the real cause of the I-95 interchange backup. The outer loop half of the bridge was replaced and widened a few years ago. SHA should finish the job and provide a meaningful fix with plenty of merge room from I-95. The $3 million plan is a quick fix. One need only look up the road to the recently widening I-70 ramp to I-695 that was built on the cheap. Many drivers think the problem is now worse.

The major constraint at this location is the bridge over Amtrak and Southwestern Boulevard, which is four lanes wide. No matter what you do upstream, you have to get down to four lanes at this bridge. (It's not being widened as part of this project.)

After this project, two of the four lanes will receive traffic from the inner loop. Since it is currently three lanes at this location, a lane drop is being created just prior to the merge.

The remaining two lanes will receive traffic from I-95, one for each ramp, giving both ramps from I-95 a dedicated lane onto the inner loop.

Also, the ramp from I-95 SB will be widened to two lanes, one of which will drop immediately before the aforementioned bridge (kind of the way it does now).

So, in the big picture, this will sort of screw the inner loop at the expense of the I-95 ramps. Sorry to the folks who work in Glen Burnie, but the lane usage needs are determined by traffic counts, which are what they are. Also, the traffic backing up in the left lane of I-95 NB in the evening is a very dangerous condition.

I've been driving through there for 30 years so I know the merge well, and that makes sense Traffic Engineer. I can even imagine the changes improving the flow somewhat. (Well, a man can dream...)

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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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