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What's wrong with this picture?

August 08, 2010
  • A sign installed over the far right lane of eastbound Dual Highway at its intersection with Edgewood Drive says "lane ends, merge left." One driver said he believes the sign contradicts the State Highway Administration's statement that the lane is for turns only.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Editor's note: Each Monday, The Herald-Mail will highlight an infrastructure issue or other problem and will try to find out what is being done to fix or improve the situation.

We will not tackle situations involving neighborhood or domestic disputes or consumer problems.

The problem: After lane confusion at Dual Highway and Edgewood Drive was featured in the May 3 "What's wrong with this picture?," the State Highway Administration added new signs, but several readers wrote in to say the signs have made the situation worse.

Originally, some drivers were confused about whether the right lanes of Dual Highway in each direction were right turn-only at the intersection or could be used to proceed through the intersection.

SHA spokeswoman Kellie Boulware said then that on eastbound Dual Highway, the far right lane was a right turn-only lane prior to Edgewood Drive. However, the sign that was installed over the lane at the intersection says "lane ends, merge left."

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Gary Wright of Hagerstown, who wrote in about the issue originally, said the sign seems to imply the lane continues through the intersection, contradicting the SHA's statement that it is for turns only.

Wright said it made more sense for the lane to be for turns only because the portion of the lane that continues past the intersection is used for traffic turning right from Edgewood Drive onto Dual Highway to merge into traffic.

"As stated, that plan would have been the safest way to direct traffic flow -- but that sure isn't what we have now!" Wright wrote.

Another reader, who wrote in anonymously, agreed that the intersection would function better if the lane were marked as right turn-only.

"Now, you have these vehicles going into the far right lane and speeding ahead of the other two lanes that are going straight," that reader said. "If you want to make a right turn on red, you cannot because there is almost always a vehicle that is going straight out of what should be a right turn lane only."

Who could fix it: State Highway Administration

What they say: After speaking with an engineer, Boulware said the lane was not marked as right turn-only because of a desire to allow drivers turning into the AC&T station just past the intersection to get into the right lane before the intersection and proceed through.

However, the lane should not be used as a bypass lane and the "lane ends" sign was meant to discourage its use as a through lane for any vehicles not turning into the AC&T, Boulware said.

She also noted that as part of the ongoing improvements to that intersection, the concrete island that ends the right lane eventually will be removed and the lane will become a third through lane extending to the end of the project limits, near Bob Evans.

-- Compiled by Heather Keels




If you are aware of a safety problem, a major annoyance or a pet peeve that one of our governmental bodies, an agency or an organization is responsible for fixing, send the information, and a photo if you have it, to:

What's Wrong With This Picture

c/o The Herald-Mail newsroom

100 Summit Ave.

Hagerstown MD 21740

You can e-mail the information to lindad@herald-mail.com.

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