Traffic shift on Route 5 announced

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration will shift traffic along MD Route 5 as part of the Abell and Moakley Streets intersection improvements Monday night, Nov. 23, starting at 9 p.m.

MDOT SHA’s contractor will stripe and shift the travel lanes within the work zone overnight. This temporary traffic pattern will allow crews to work on the curb and gutter and ADA-compliant sidewalk. Once in place, drivers will continue to use two travel lanes in each direction; daytime single-lane closures are still permitted Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Portable variable message signs will advise drivers of the upcoming changing traffic pattern. MDOT SHA works to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones for our crews and our customers. Drivers are reminded to stay alert, focus on driving, and look for reduced speed limits, as well as other driving pattern changes. For a list of all major MDOT SHA projects, go to roads.maryland.gov. For a look at real-time traffic conditions, go to md511.maryland.gov. Customers with questions may contact the MDOT SHA District 5 Office at 410-841-1000 or toll-free at 1-800-331-5603.

Broadband request for proposal announced

The Commissioners of St. Mary's County are pleased to announce the Request for Proposal for community-wide broadband is open for interested broadband providers. To request a copy of the Broadband RFP, interested providers should email Kevin Dellicker, RFP facilitator, at Kevin@dellicker.com. The RFP submission deadline is Dec. 4 and RFP purchasing options will be shared as early as Dec. 15.

Reliable internet access in St. Mary's County has been a top priority of the commissioners, and on Sept. 15, the they allocated $100,000 toward formally assessing local broadband capabilities. To date, more than 2,400 households and 90-employers have responded to the broadband assessment surveys.

For the second phase of St. Mary's Broadband Assessment Project, the Commissioners are authorizing the release of a community-wide Request for Proposal to solicit broadband providers to submit proposals to improve broadband options, availability and pricing.

It's not too late for residents to complete The St. Mary's County Broadband Assessment Project surveys for Households, posted here:

The household survey deadline is Nov. 24. The broadband assessment project is designed to spur broadband options, more broadband investment across the county. Affordable and fast broadband is critical to local economies, education and the real estate market.

For more information about the surveys or the RFP, contact Kelly Lewis at Kelly@LewisStrategic.com.

Seasonal reminder for drivers

Citizens are reminded to be alert for deer during the fall breeding season. Many wildlife related accidents occur between dusk and dawn. Watch for deer where roads pass through wooded or rural areas. Driving the speed limit reduces the chances of an accident with a deer; and, at night, reduce speeds below the limit, especially in rain, snow or fog.

Here are some other tips to keep in mind as a driver.

Never veer for deer. Slow down and avoid hitting deer, but do not swerve. This can cause you to lose control and strike another vehicle, or to leave the highway and strike a tree or other object. Injuries to drivers and passengers increase when the vehicle swerves.

Deer usually travel in groups and generally maintain a home range of about one square mile. If you see a deer cross the road, slow down and use caution. Additional deer may be out of view and more are likely to follow.

A deer standing calmly in a field may suddenly jump into the road. Anticipate the potential for this rapid change in posture.

Elevate your deer awareness at locations with deer crossing signs. Deer crossing signs indicate areas where heavily used deer trails cross roadways. Slow down and watch for the eye-shine of deer near the roadway edges.

Be especially aware during the morning and afternoon. Deer tend to be more active during the early morning hours and late afternoon hours year-round. They are moving between evening feeding areas and daytime bedding sites.

Never approach an injured animal. Finally, in the unfortunate event of striking a deer, never approach an injured animal. Pull to a safe location with hazard lights on and call the police. Make it a safe season for you and the deer.

If you notice an animal carcass lying along or in the roadside, please report it by using the County Highways online Maintenance Request Form at www.stmarysmd.com/dpw/. The icon is on the upper right corner of the website and can be identified as an oval symbol with “311” in the center. You may also contact the Department of Public Works & Transportation at 301-475-4200 ext. 3517.

Criteria for small business relief fund expanded

The criteria for St. Mary’s County COVID-19 Small Business and nonprofit Relief Fund has been altered to allow more St. Mary’s County businesses and nonprofits to meet the eligibility requirements. As of June 8, the relief program will expand to allow businesses and nonprofits that have experienced a drop in revenue of at least 30% to apply. Previously, a 50% drop in revenue was needed to qualify. In addition, businesses and nonprofits with annual revenues under $3 million are eligible to apply; previously limited to entities with annual revenues under $2 million. Locally owned franchises are now eligible to apply.

The initial round was reserved for those locally owned independent businesses that we hardest hit by the pandemic. This phased approach allows the County to ensure that those entities harmed the most would be considered first for these local grants.

The grant program has a budget of $2 million. Small businesses and nonprofits with 15 or fewer employees are eligible for grants of $5,000 and entities with 16 to 30 employees are eligible for grants of $7,500 (grant amount not to exceed a yearly average of two months revenue). We anticipate that over 300 grants will be issued.

Grants may be used for working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of business.

Eligible businesses and nonprofits can submit an online application at www.yesstmarysmd.com/grants/.

If you have any questions, contact Kellie Hinkle, Deputy Director at Kellie.Hinkle@StMarysMD.com or 240-925-7178.

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