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Upgrade planned for intersection of Poffenberger, Garris Shop roads

$4 million project is aimed at improving safety

January 31, 2012|By DAVE McMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

FUNKSTOWN — Despite plans to invest more than $4 million to improve the accident-prone intersection at Poffenberger and Garis Shop roads south of Funkstown, Carolyn Forsythe thinks more needs to be done.

The project also involves the relocation of the intersection of Poffenberger Road and Alt. U.S. 40 about 250 feet farther north.

Although project officials say moving the intersection farther north will provide better sight distance for motorists pulling into the intersection, Forsythe said she is worried about the speeds on Alt. U.S. 40 and believes a traffic light is also needed at the intersection.

“It’s a very dangerous section because its a straightaway,” Forsythe said during a public meeting on the project Tuesday night at the Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co.

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The meeting was held by the Maryland State Highway Administration to give people a chance to see what is planned at the intersection.

Barry Ritchie, an SHA spokesman, said the intersection has been studied for a traffic signal but it was determined that one is not needed.

Claggett's Mill LLC is the developer of a 238-home development along Poffenberger Road that is giving about $700,000 toward the cost of the road project, officials have said.

Every time  Claggett's Mill LLC proposes another section in the development, the intersection of Poffenberger Road and Alt. U.S. 40 will be “tested” to determine if a traffic signal is needed, county Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III said.

Ritchie said the state aims to improve the safety at the new intersection by putting a turn lane on Alt. U.S. 40 for motorists turning into Poffenberger Road. There will be a “bypass” lane next to the turning lane that will allow motorists continuing straight to avoid the turning lane, Ritchie said.

That will keep traffic on the highway separated and increase safety, Ritchie said.

Forsythe, who lives on Wagaman Road, said she believes a signal should be installed at the new intersection anyway because future growth in the area is going to demand it.

To control the speed of traffic coming down Garis Shop Road into the intersection with Poffenberger Road, a roundabout will be built in the intersection, according to Ritchie.

Forsythe said the roundabout will be “OK” if stop signs instead of yield signs are used in the circle.

But Ritchie said yield signs will be used at the roundabout, which  will slow traffic because motorists will be forced to decelerate due to its tight turning radius.

Denise Hall, who lives on Garis Shop Road, said she believes the improvements will help. Hall, who used to live in a house at the intersection, said she remembers cars “screeching” as they tried to make it through the intersection of Poffenberger Road and Alt. U.S. 40.

Construction is expected to start in the spring and will take about a year, Ritchie said.

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