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Smithsburg to get traffic signal at entrance to schools

April 02, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

SMITHSBURG -- Smithsburg and Washington County officials have agreed to move forward with a project to add a traffic signal on North Main Street at the entrance to the town's schools to improve safety and traffic flow, Smithsburg Mayor Mildred "Mickey" Myers said Tuesday.

Officials also plan to widen the entrance to the middle and high schools and realign the elementary school entrance to line up with it, Myers said.

The plan was chosen after a detailed analysis of nine options for improving traffic conditions at the site conducted by the Washington County Division of Public Works, Myers said.

Traffic conditions at peak hours "congest the parking and roadway system and present significant traffic hazards to the students, faculty and general public," Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth wrote in a memo to the town.

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Other options for improving the situation included building secondary exits and building a roundabout at the intersection, Kroboth wrote. Researchers ranked the options based on 15 criteria, such as cost effectiveness, impact on local roads and overall enhancement to traffic safety, and the combination of widening, realignment and adding a stoplight was the highest-ranking grouping, the memo shows.

"I was very, very pleased, because for the first time, I think we have a plan of action," Myers said.

The three projects have an estimated construction cost of $631,567, Kroboth's memo states.

Myers said no funding has been committed to the project yet, but she hopes the school board and the county will step in to help.

"The schools are inside the town, but we serve more Washington County kids than town kids," she said.

Officials hope to complete the project within the next couple of years, Myers said.

Eventually, officials hope to modify the roads and parking lots within the school properties to improve flow, Myers said.

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