According to plan, the new interchange will provide safer travel through the area by separating traffic traveling along U.S. 301 from traffic along MD 304.
A new $49.9 million interchange is being built along Maryland's U.S. 301 (Blue Star Memorial Highway) at MD 304 (Ruthsburg Road) in Queen Anne's County to replace an existing at-grade intersection.
Construction for the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) began in the fall of 2014 and will be complete by late fall 2018 or early 2019, weather permitting.
The new interchange includes a two-lane bridge carrying MD 304 over U.S. 301. In addition, two single-lane roundabouts will be built along MD 304 on either side of the new bridge to safely guide drivers through the interchange. The project includes a new 25-space paved ridesharing lot in the northwest corner of the interchange, along with bicycle-compatible shoulders on the MD 304 Bridge to provide safe passage for cyclists and pedestrians.
“Currently, 21,720 vehicles along U.S. 301 and 5,220 vehicles along MD 304 travel through this intersection each day, with traffic projected to increase to 32,400 (U.S. 301) and 7,350 (MD 304) vehicles per day by 2030,” said Charlie Gischlar, SHA public information officer. “Nearly one-quarter of all vehicles along U.S. 301 in this area are trucks.”
According to plan, the new interchange will provide safer travel through the area by separating traffic traveling along U.S. 301 from traffic along MD 304. The project also will enhance access to the local middle and high schools. The interchange was Queen Anne's County's highest transportation priority, and is strongly supported by the citizens' group “Support Overpass 4 Students.”
The prime contractor is David A. Bramble Inc., Chestertown, Md., and the major subcontractor is Wagman Inc. Funding is $8.2 million federal dollars and $41.7 million state dollars. Construction costs total $39.5 million; right-of-way $2 million; planning $1 million; and design $7.4 million.
Equipment being used on the job includes cranes, graders, excavators, dump trucks, pavers, and rollers.
“The project is 21 percent completed (as of late-September),” Gischlar said. “Crews are currently working on a northbound U.S. 301 box culvert that will carry Mill Stream Branch under U.S. 301. There also is pile driving happening in the project limits, as well as storm water management ponds. SHA also created a J-Turn as part of this project at the U.S. 301/MD 305 intersection north of the project. J-turns enable motorists to make a right turn and proceed to a safe location (usually guided by a traffic signal) to make a u-turn. This prevents angle crashes when motorists try to make direct left turns.”
Gischlar noted that due to the marshy nature of the soil, there is a significant “quarantine area” that enables the soil to dry and become stable for construction use.