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Work begins on U.S. Alternate 40 and Poffenberger Road

Some residents are unhappy with the traffic but at least one restaurant owner says it's good for business

July 12, 2012|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • Traffic is directed to one lane on U.S. Alternate 40 and Poffenberger Road where construction is under way to move the intersection 250 feet west.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN — Amberlee Shatzer lives on Garis Shop Road and did not hide her displeasure with the road work that began in the area this week.

“It’s a hot mess and ridiculous,” she said. “At first, we thought it wouldn’t be as bad.”

The work is for a project that includes widening U.S. Alternate 40, moving the intersection of U.S. Alternate 40 and Poffenberger Road about 250 feet west, and putting a roundabout at the intersection of Garis Shop Road and Poffenberger Road.

Shatzer, 32, said she does not like the ideas behind the project.

“I just think it’s going to make it worse,” she said. “I don’t see this being a good thing. People do 70 miles an hour going down this street, and the roundabout could cause more accidents.”

Just down the road, Tiffany Linton said she has mixed feelings about the project. She said she supported widening U.S. Alternate 40 and moving the intersection, but she did not like the roundabout.

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“I don’t see the benefit to a roundabout, but they should move the intersection because it is hard to see there, and they should widen (U.S. Alternate 40) so more traffic can go through,” she said. “It will be inconvenient.”

Linton, 31, said she supports some of the work, but it can still be frustrating for her to be caught in the middle of it.

“I was mad this morning because traffic got backed up,” she said. “This is going to be ridiculous.”

Brad Sheldon, owner of Next Dimensions restaurant, said he does not mind the project because it is good for business.

“People back up here all the way through Funkstown,” he said. “They get tired of waiting so they come in here and turn around, and people just stop and say they’ll have lunch, so it’s actually helped us.”

Sheldon said he thinks the road needs improvements and gave his own suggestions for what he thought should be done.

“They need more traffic lights in some of these dangerous corners going down (U.S. Alternate) 40, and it would be great if they put an on/off ramp here to get rid of some of that traffic that’s going by the new hospital,” he said. “Hopefully this is the beginning, and maybe it will get better.”

Sheldon said the traffic sometimes can be a problem for his employees.

“If they’re due at 11 or they’re due at 3 or 4 in the afternoon, they have to leave about a half-hour early just to get through the traffic,” he said. “There’s not much you can do about it.”

Construction on the project began this week. Traffic is affected from the outskirts of Funkstown to Poffenberger Road, as cones have been placed in the middle of the road reducing it to one lane and workers have been directing traffic.

“This project is really going to improve sight distance for vehicles,” SHA Community Liaison Heather Keels said.

The project has three phases, according to Keels. The first two involve work on U.S. Alternate 40 at Poffenberger Road, and the third phase will involve relocating the intersection and adding the roundabout.

While the work on the third phase is happening, Poffenberger Road will be closed to through traffic between Md. 65 and Garis Shop Road.

Keels said traffic is not expected to be a major issue.

“We don’t anticipate traffic being a big problem,” she said. “You’ll be able to turn from Md. 65 onto Poffenberger Road for local access, and Wagaman Road and Garis Shop Road can be used in place of Poffenberger Road when it’s closed.”

Weather permitting, Keels said the goal is for the project to be completed by the end of the year. 

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