- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Construction for the next section of the Prince Frederick Loop Road is expected to begin in late May or early June, according to county officials, and on Monday night, residents voiced their concerns about the project at an open house.
The Department of Public Works hosted the open house to discuss with the community the Armory Road project that is part of the loop road. This section of the Prince Frederick Loop Road is known as Chesapeake Boulevard and consists of the widening and the partial realignment of Armory Road from Main Street to Dares Beach Road. The plans also call for the construction of a roundabout at the Dares Beach-Armory Road intersection to replace the existing traffic signal. Other improvements during the project include new sidewalks, wider shoulders and pedestrian lights.
Several residents expressed concern over the construction of the roundabout and whether it was the best option.
Karl Deugwillo, a county project engineer from the transportation division of public works, explained that the roundabout is “dictated by the state,” and it would “actually be safer” than the existing traffic light.
One concern raised at the open house was in regard to school buses trying to navigate the roundabout, but Deugwillo said the one-lane roundabout was designed by State Highway Administration with a tractor trailer-type vehicle so buses “shouldn’t have a problem.”
Several residents also expressed concern over the number of trees that will be removed in order to make way for the roundabout, widening and new portion of Chesapeake Boulevard south of the roundabout to Main Street.
Deugwillo assured concerned residents that any trees that are removed to make way for the road and the roundabout will be accounted for as per forest conservation regulations. He said the requirements include the county paying in lieu funds, which will go toward the planning and actual planting of trees and other vegetation throughout the county, and to also plant trees and other vegetation in designated project areas.
The construction portion of the project is estimated to cost $4.6 million and utility relocation costs are expected to be about $700,000, bringing the total project cost to about $5.3 million of county funds through bond financing.
The entire four-phase project is expected to take 18 to 24 months. Deugwillo explained Monday night that the timeline accounts for weather and other obstacles that may arise.
The existing Armory Road between Main Street and Dares Beach Road will be renamed Chesapeake Boulevard and Monnett Court, but Deugwillo said that change won’t happen until the project is nearly complete. Chesapeake Boulevard will run from Main Street to north of Fairground Road in its present alignment, then continue north from this point as a new road to the roundabout at the Dares Beach Road intersection.
The existing curved portion of Armory Road — where several business are located — will become Monnett Court, a dead-end local road, and connect to Chesapeake Boulevard.
Each of the four phases have their own distinct traffic control plans and detours, Deugwillo said. He assured residents Monday night that Dares Beach Road will remain open at all times during construction.
Phase 1 consists of the widening of Dares Beach Road, half of the roundabout construction along the north side of Dares Beach Road and a temporary connection of Armory Road north of Dares Beach Road to the roundabout.
During Phase 2, Dares Beach Road will be widened along the south side, and construction will begin on the second half of the roundabout, Chesapeake Boulevard north of Fairground Road to Dares Beach Road and on Monnett Court.
Phase 3, which Deugwillo said he expects to begin in about a year or “a little sooner,” will be the remaining construction of Chesapeake Boulevard and Monnett Court, as well as the Fairground Road connection.
In the last phase, the center of the roundabout will be finished, splitter islands and curbs will be constructed and final pavement markings will be made.
The maps and more information are available on the county website at www.co.cal.md.us/roadproject.