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Road widening discussed

January 15, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Eastern Boulevard between Dual Highway and Jefferson Boulevard needs to be widened, at an estimated cost of $3.5 million, in the next two to three years or traffic problems and delays will escalate, Hagerstown City Engineer Rodney Tissue told the Hagerstown City Council Tuesday.

It has not been determined how the widening would be funded but the city would not pay all of the costs, he said.

The widening from two to four lanes would be from just south of Opal Court northwest to Jefferson Boulevard. Turn lanes would be added at intersections, he said.

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Most of the traffic is southbound in the morning and northbound at night, a traffic consultant told the council.

The one-mile stretch of the road is heavily used and the amount of traffic is expected to continue to grow as new developments and businesses are built in the area, Tissue said.

In 1990, an estimated 8,000 vehicles per day traveled the one-mile section of Eastern Boulevard, Tissue said. Today, 21,000 vehicles per day travel that stretch, he said.

By 2010, that is expected to increase to 30,000 vehicles per day, he said.

The city needs to act fast to deal with traffic delays and other problems, he said.

Officials with area businesses have asked the city to erect a signal at Eastern Boulevard and Opal Court.

The signal, if erected, would be about 400 feet from a signal that was installed about three years ago at Professional Court and Eastern Boulevard, Tissue said.

Tissue asked the council if it was interested in having a signal built there and the consensus was to find other alternatives, such as finding a way to connect Opal Court and Professional Court.

Tissue argued against a signal.

"Our (traffic) volumes on Eastern are approaching those of Dual Highway," Tissue said.

Just as the city does not put a signal at every busy intersection on Dual Highway, so should the city avoid putting signals at every busy entrance on Eastern Boulevard, he said.

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