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Some residents think Poffenberger Road work makes area more hazardous

Residents concerned with intersection at U.S. Alt 40 and the roundabout at Garis Shop Road

January 31, 2013|By CALEB CALHOUN | caleb.calhoun@herald-mail.com
  • A new traffic circle redirects Poffenberger and Garis Shop roads at U.S. Alt. 40 east of Funkstown.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

Poffenberger Road reopened to traffic between Garis Shop Road and Sharpsburg Pike earlier this week, but Sherry Wagner said she thinks some of the changes make the area more dangerous.

“When I’m turning left from Alternate 40 onto Poffenberger Road or from Poffenberger Road onto Alternate 40, I can’t see the cars until they’re at the top of the hill,” said Wagner, who lives on Mar Rock Drive. “That intersection is not safe. At least you were 250 feet further down the hill before they moved it.”

The intersection of Poffenberger Road and U.S. Alt. 40 was moved as part of an overall project that also included widening U.S. Alt. 40 in the area and installing a roundabout at the intersection of Poffenberger and Garis Shop roads. Poffenberger Road closed in September so the intersection could be moved and the roundabout installed.

Maryland State Highway Administration District Community Liaison Heather Keels said that the intersection was moved so that it would be easier to see traffic coming from Funkstown.

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“At the old intersection, there was a hill about 250 feet away looking toward Funkstown,” Keels said. “The new alignment puts the intersection at the crest of the hill so it should no longer be blocking your view.”

Wagner, however, said that another solution could have been reached to solve the problem.

“I feel they should’ve graded down the hill to get out of that intersection,” she said. “It’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Keels said there are construction drums and concrete barriers on the road in the area due to more work that needs to be completed on U.S. Alt. 40 in the spring. Once that work is completed, they will be removed, which she said “should make it easier to see.”

The roundabout at Garis Shop and Poffenberger roads drew concern from other residents in the area.

Michael and Carol Martin, who live at the bottom of another hill on Poffenberger Road just past the roundabout going toward Sharpsburg Pike, said they do not understand why the roundabout was erected.

“It seems to me they could have just lowered the hill and widened the road,” Carol Martin, 66, said. “They expect people to slow down at this yield sign at the roundabout when before they wouldn’t stop for the stop sign that was there.”

Michael Martin, 67, added that he is worried about motorists speeding down the hill after the roundabout.

“Some of them go 65 or 70 miles per hour down that hill,” he said. “I just hope there’s no wreck at the top of the hill, but I doubt it will be a month before there is a wreck.”

Keels said that with the roundabout in place, motorists should have a harder time speeding down the hill.

“Past the roundabout, the slope is a little steeper but we’ve added a shoulder to improve safety,” she said.
Martin added that despite his concerns, he is glad the road finally reopened.

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