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What's Wrong With This Picture?

April 15, 2012
  • Washington County's recent project at the intersection of Halfway and Massey boulevards created two left-turn lanes in each direction. Problems have been experienced when a tractor-trailer is in the rightmost left-turn lane at the same time that a vehicle makes a left from the rightmost left-turn lane from the opposite direction.
By Heather Keels, Staff Writer

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: Washington County’s recent project at the intersection of Halfway and Massey boulevards created two left-turn lanes in each direction. A Herald-Mail employee said when he is making the left turn from westbound Halfway Boulevard onto southbound Massey Boulevard, he has twice had to stop midturn to avoid tractor-trailers making the left turn from eastbound Halfway Boulevard onto northbound Massey Boulevard that make too wide of a turn to leave room for traffic making the opposite turn. The problem happens when a tractor-trailer is in the rightmost left-turn lane at the same time that a vehicle makes a left from the rightmost left-turn lane from the opposite direction, he said.

Who could fix it: Washington County

What they say: The heavy traffic volumes at the Halfway-Massey intersection required the creation of double left-turn lanes for increased capacity, county officials said in a written response provided by spokeswoman Sarah Lankford Sprecher.

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“The difficulty is that drivers must be entirely attentive to the dotted lines marked on the pavement,” the statement said. “These lines ensure that vehicles turning in the same and opposite directions avoid conflict.”

Tractor-trailers sometimes swing wide to avoid vehicles to the inside, but if they swing too wide, they can enter the path for left turns in the opposite direction, as appears to be the case here, the statement said.

“While the left turns at the intersection are designed to accommodate left turns in opposing directions, variables such as vehicle length, which is not regulated, and driver approach necessitate that both commercial and passenger vehicle drivers use caution,” the statement said. “We will continue to monitor the intersection to ensure that the traffic using it is safely accommodated.”

 — 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 email the information to lindad@herald-mail.com.

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