The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration (SHA) is working on a widening project that spans three counties, including Queen Anne's, Talbot and Caroline.
The contract involves widening MD 404 (Queen Anne Highway/Shore Highway) for 9 mi. between U.S. 50 (Ocean Gateway) and the town of Denton from a two-lane highway to a four-lane, divided highway.
The proposed alignment includes construction of two additional 24-ft. roadways, 10-ft. outside shoulders, 4-ft. inside shoulders, a 34-ft. median, (narrower median in environmentally sensitive areas) with traffic barrier, a parallel bridge over Norwich Creek, partial access controls for driveways and farm fields, and J-Turns.
West of MD 309, the alignment has shifted north to avoid a large area of quality wetlands and impacts to a historic house on Sylvester Farms.
According to Charlie Gischlar, acting media relations manager for the Maryland SHA, the MD 404 project is being delivered by the design-build project delivery method. Construction of the MD 404 project was funded in the summer of 2015, as a part of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's Investing in Highway and Bridges Initiative.
This phase of MD 404 was advertised on Oct. 20, 2015, construction began in the summer of 2016, and the project will be open for traffic in November of 2017.
“This project will improve safety in this high-speed corridor, which has seen several severe crashes over the years,” Gischlar said. “The average daily traffic during the off-season on MD 404 in this section of the highway is 21,150 vehicles per day. During the summer season, the average daily traffic increases 20 percent, overburdening the two-lane roadway sections and causing traffic backups.”
Gischlar reported that MD 404 phase 1B from west of MD 309 to Cemetery Road (1.5 mi.) is complete. Phase 1B had a total cost of $31.2 million.
According to Gischlar, the main challenges with this project involve time and traffic.
“This is a major route to the Delaware beaches during spring, summer and fall travel,” he explained. “The project includes about two dozen or so crossroad pipes on a two-lane, two-way road with small shoulders. Doing this while maintaining traffic is difficult and time-consuming. Also, doing some of this work close to U.S. 50 is particularly complicated — we've had to manually control the intersection signals in coordination with flaggers to keep things safe and moving.”
He noted that time is a factor not just for the construction, but because the design must be completed since it is a design-build project.
“There are a lot of changes on the fly, and it requires enormous coordination among design staff and property owners/residents along 404,” Gischlar said.
Subcontractors for the project include Columbia Park Contractors Inc.; Davis Brothers Concrete LLC.; DGI-Menard Inc.; Dorchester Dumpin' Co. Inc.; Empire Landscape LLC.; Erosion Control & Landscape Services Inc.; Guardrails Etc. Inc.; Interlock Steelworkers Inc.; Island Builder Services Inc.; Jernigan Concrete Pumping Inc.; Mark-Lang Inc.; Martinez Hauling Inc.; Mattiola Services LLC.; Mohawk Bridge & Iron Inc.; Priceless Industries Inc.; Shore Quality Contracting LLC.; Road Safety LLC.; Site Work Safety Supplies Inc.; Strobert Tree Services Inc.; Traffic Control Services LLC dba Flagger Force; and Zone Striping Inc.
Equipment used on the job includes rollers, pavers, jackhammers, pneumatic tools/air tools, dump trucks, excavators, cranes, man-lifts, skid steers and loaders.
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