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Ardent Co. Brings Safety Improvements Along MD 500

Mon June 03, 2024 - Northeast Edition #12
Brenda Ruggiero


The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has reached the end of a $23.4 million project in Prince George’s County to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists traveling along MD 500.
Photo courtesy of MDOT SHA
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has reached the end of a $23.4 million project in Prince George’s County to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists traveling along MD 500.
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has reached the end of a $23.4 million project in Prince George’s County to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists traveling along MD 500.   (Photo courtesy of MDOT SHA) This project addresses operation and safety throughout the corridor while supporting current and future economic development in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier.   (Photo courtesy of MDOT SHA) Construction started August 2019 and the project was recently named substantially complete.   (Photo courtesy of MDOT SHA)

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has reached the end of a $23.4 million project in Prince George's County to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists traveling along MD 500 (Queens Chapel Road) between MD 208 (Hamilton Road) and Eastern Avenue (Washington, D.C., line) in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier.

The prime contractor was Ardent Company LLC and the project manager was Vivek Thukral.

For the contract amount, 20 percent came from state funding and 80 percent from federal funding.

This project addresses operation and safety throughout the corridor while supporting current and future economic development in Hyattsville and Mount Rainier. Some of the improvements included modifying and reconstructing traffic signals and signage along Queens Chapel Road, adding bicycle-compatible lanes and shoulders and installing new sidewalks and curbs and gutters compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"The improvements along MD 500 benefit motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and everyone who uses this roadway," said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. "We appreciate the partnership with the community and local officials to accomplish an important project that improves mobility and adds to the quality of life for residents."

State Highway Administrator William Pines added, "The safety, accessibility and operational improvements completed along this corridor will support the economic development of the Hyattsville and Mount Rainier as both communities continue to grow."

The project included reconstructing and widening the roadway along Queens Chapel Road; adding a full traffic signal to the intersection of Russell Avenue and Queens Chapel Road; installing a pedestrian signal at Queens Chapel Road and the Northwest Branch trail crossing; improving sidewalk ramps, crosswalks, driveway entrances and pedestrian signals; installing concrete medians to provide pedestrian refuge and traffic calming; improving drainage system and storm water management facilities; landscaping improvements; and installing LED pedestrian lighting within the city limits of Hyattsville.

In addition, the speed limit was lowered on Queens Chapel Road from 35 mph to 30 mph between the District of Columbia Line and Hamilton Street.

Construction started August 2019 and the project was recently named substantially complete. In the coming months, crews will activate traffic signals at two intersections — MD 500 at Ager Road and MD 500 at Hamilton Street and add pedestrian lighting within the Hyattsville city limits.

According to Shantee Felix, MDOT SHA media relations manager, the full scope of the project includes the installation of 5-ft.-wide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant sidewalk and sidewalk ramps, roadway resurfacing, full-depth reconstruction and widening, installation of curb and combination curb and gutter, drainage improvements and outfall reconstruction, construction of stormwater management facilities, landscaping enhancements, full signal reconstruction, installation of new signage and pavement markings and installation of pedestrian lighting.

"The goal of this project is to improve the mobility, access and safety for vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle traffic along MD 500," Felix said. "These improvements will support the economic development for the growing communities of Hyattsville and Mount Rainier."

She added that there are a lot of pedestrians in this area due to proximity of residential neighborhoods and commercial shopping centers.

"One challenge our crews had was safely maintaining pedestrian access to the adjacent residences, commercial businesses and bus stops through the work zone during construction," she said.

The project incorporated a "Pedestrian Actuated Crossing Signal" for the Northwest Branch trail crossing, which crosses MD 500 near Jamestown Road. When trail users activate the push button of this signal, it goes from a slow-flashing yellow to a fast-flashing yellow to a steady yellow and then to all red. Motorists are expected to stop on the red signal if trail users push the button for the phase change to occur. Felix reported that these devices are effective in controlling motorists to stop to allow pedestrians and bicyclists to safely cross the main line of a state highway, in this case MD 500.

Major subcontractors include Chesapeake Guardrails, for installation of new traffic barrier; Luna Concrete, for installation of concrete sidewalk and curb and gutter; Priceless Industries, for installation of permanent pavement markings and traffic signs; and Reliable Construction Co., for milling and paving.

Major equipment used on the job included excavators, dump trucks, rollers, Gradalls, front loaders, Bobcats, milling machines and pavers.

The project included more than 6,800 cu. yds. of excavation, more than 6,400 linear ft. of new storm drain installed, more than 9,500 tons of asphalt placed, more than 74,000 sq. ft. of new concrete sidewalk and 17,500 sq. yds. of topsoil placed.

In partnership with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC), the scope of work also included the replacement of approximately 2,000 linear ft. of 8-in. and 12-in. water main within the project limits. CEG


Brenda Ruggiero

Brenda Ruggiero has written for CEG for over 20 years. She lives near the town of Accident in far western Maryland. Her favorite assignments so far involved interviews with Survivor’s Boston Rob and hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut. Both were involved in construction at one time.

Brenda holds a BA in Mass Communication with a writing focus from Frostburg State University and minors in Public Relations and Political Science. She works full time as a staff writer for a weekly newspaper, the Garrett County Republican. She enjoys feature writing the most, which gives her the opportunity to talk to people and share their stories.

Brenda and her middle school sweetheart, Reuben, have been married for over 34 years and have three grown children and four cats.


Read more from Brenda Ruggiero here.





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