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Left-turn arrow to ease traffic flow by Smithsburg schools

August 30, 2010

SMITHSBURG -- A left-turn arrow is expected to be installed by the end of September at the traffic signal for the Smithsburg schools, helping to alleviate some congestion in that area, a Washington County public works official said Monday.

The left-turn arrow will be installed for southbound traffic on Main Street, helping drivers turning into the middle and high school campuses, said Robert Slocum, deputy director of public works.

During the summer, work was completed to improve the entrances to the schools, including installation of traffic lights. On the first day of school, the new traffic lights caused some delays, including a backup about a half-mile long on Leitersburg Smithsburg Road. Main Street becomes Leitersburg Smithsburg Road north of town.

County workers adjusted the light last week to give southbound drivers a longer green light, Slocum said.

But there is nothing to indicate to southbound drivers that they have a period of about 20 seconds during which they can turn left and not worry about northbound traffic, which has a red light, he said.

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The green arrow will fix that, Slocum said.

Once the light is in, county officials will monitor the timing of the light, he said.

Even after the light is installed, drivers can continue to expect heavier traffic in that area during rainy days because more students are expected to be driven to school than will walk, Slocum said.

-- Julie E. Greene

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