Rookie legislators obtain Governor Hogan’s Commitment to Fix Long-ignored Dangerous Road
POINT LOOKOUT, MD – In spite of crashes that took place along a dangerous stretch of road at Point Lookout, Md., with a school bus involved with a dump truck in a wreck, a succession of Democrat legislators from St. Mary’s County, with great influence, never managed to achieve what a rookie delegate and senator have done. That achievement is to convince the Governor to fund a long-awaited road project to widen a dangerous stretch of road.
With Del. John Hanson Briscoe representing St. Mary’s County and holding the position of Speaker of the House, to former Congressman Roy Dyson serving five terms as senator, to Congressman Steny Hoyer in office for three decades to Del. John Bohanan, born just a skip and bump up the road, not a single one of these Democrats has ever convinced a Democrat Governor to fund this project.
Now, with freshmen Republicans Del. Deb Rey and Sen. Steve Waugh finding little to cheer about for their efforts at filing bills for which there are few votes to pass them, the pair were able to pull off a road project that will benefit their district as well as make travel safer for thousands of visitors each year to the popular Point Lookout State Park.
Standing along Point Lookout Road at Buzzy’s Country Store, Governor Larry Hogan (R.) today announced the project schedule for the $13.5 million widening of MD 5 (Point Lookout Road) from south of Scotland Beach Road to the causeway area in Point Lookout State Park, one of the state’s most popular recreational venues. The construction project is part of the Hogan Administration’s $1.97 billion investment in highway and bridge improvements across the
state. The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration will hold public workshops this summer to discuss the project design with detailed design work to take place in 2017. Construction will start in the fall 2018 with the road open to traffic fall 2021.
“For years, St. Mary’s County leaders and residents asked for help to fix the traffic and safety concerns that plague MD 5. Today, our administration is answering the call,” said Governor Hogan. “This badly needed project will help citizens and tourists of St. Mary’s County get about their daily lives in a faster, more efficient, and safer manner.”
The 2-mile project will provide safe access to the state park by widening MD 5 between Camp Brown Road and the Ranger Station’s entrance booth and resurfacing the roadway to the causeway. The existing, narrow two-lane roadway is problematic for tourists unfamiliar with the road and regular visitors who drive recreational vehicles and tow boat trailers.
In addition to people driving 8 ½-foot-wide recreational vehicles trying to navigate 10-foot lanes, drivers are challenged by the absence of shoulders and very soft ground and deep ditches on the roadside. This project will widen the lanes to 11 feet and add six- to eight-foot shoulders in each direction. At the MD 5/Scotland Beach Road intersection, crews also will construct an exclusive right-turn lane onto southbound MD 5, heading toward the park.
During the summer peak season, the number of vehicles grows from 750 off season to 4,900 vehicles traveling this portion of MD 5 daily – a nearly seven-fold jump in the amount of traffic. In 2035, the peak-season traffic is expected to increase to 7,000 vehicles-per-day.
Even before the park opens at 6:00 AM, MD 5 delays quickly build for residents, pedestrians, cyclists and emergency responders. A disabled vehicle or minor crash can paralyze the area. These improvements will provide emergency shoulders that can be used for travel during peak times.