Md. Gov. Martin O’Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown announced the start of construction on a new roundabout at the gateway to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Princess Anne, Somerset County.
The long-awaited $2.9 million roundabout is the first Eastern Shore project funded by the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 to move to construction.
"Today, we are delivering on our promise to invest in key transportation projects that will improve safety, relieve congestion and spur economic development in every corner of the state," said O’Malley. "This project will enhance the safety of UMES employees, students and Princess Anne residents, while providing more work for a local Eastern Shore contractor and his employees."
The roundabout will replace the existing intersection of MD 675 (Somerset Avenue) and MD 822 (UMES Boulevard). Construction is getting under way now and is expected to be complete by the end of 2014, weather permitting. The roundabout project includes new sidewalks and drainage improvements. Motorists will continue to have access along UMES Boulevard while the roundabout and related utility work are under way. The project will enhance the safety of pedestrians and motorists traveling to UMES, which has approximately 4,500 students.
"We passed the Transportation Act to create jobs today and expand opportunities for Maryland families in the future," said Brown. "This new roundabout is one of many transportation projects across the state that now can move to construction thanks to the passage of this Act. Our administration is committed to building a modern transportation network that will support our growing economy."
David A. Bramble Inc. of Chestertown, Md., was awarded the contract by the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA).
"This project permanently remedies years of pedestrian safety concerns, as well as traffic issues affecting the residents of Princess Anne and UMES students," said Sen. Jim Mathias. "This UMES-Somerset Avenue roundabout project is a great example of how our citizens, towns, counties and state government achieve success by working together."
"This project brings together two issues very close to my heart — education and safety," said Del. Norman H. Conway. "A good education is the key to building a strong community, but you need to get to school first to accomplish that. Thanks to the O’Malley-Brown Administration and the Transportation Investment Act, this project will provide students and teachers a safe route to school whether they are driving or walking to UMES."
Funding for this safety improvement was made possible with the passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013. The passage of the Transportation Act enabled the Maryland Department of Transportation to add $4.4 billion in new projects to create the largest six-year capital budget in Maryland history at $15.6 billion. Last August, Gov. O’Malley joined local officials in announcing nearly $160 million in key transportation projects for the Eastern Shore, including funds to construct a new interchange at U.S. 301/ MD 304, widen MD 404 from west of MD 309 to Cemetery Road and build a new MD 331 Dover Bridge.
"Our University of Maryland Eastern Shore community is delighted this project is under way, and we are extremely grateful to Governor O’Malley and the state for making funding for this roundabout possible," UMES President Juliette Bell said. "Improved access to our campus and the safety of our students, who walk along roads with no sidewalks, have been long standing concerns. We look forward to the completion of this project which will benefit UMES and our neighbors."