I-95 Express Toll Lanes to be extended past White Marsh

I-95Governor Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced $461 million in new traffic relief initiatives for the Baltimore region, including adding lanes to 27 miles of highway to alleviate congestion on the Baltimore Beltway (I-695) and Interstate 95.

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) are pursuing three innovative design-build projects to achieve the greatest possible amount of peak-hour congestion relief on the Baltimore Beltway and I-95. The $461 million investment brings the administration’s investment in new transportation projects in the Baltimore region to a total of $7 billion.

“The important traffic relief initiatives we are announcing today will benefit the daily lives of millions of drivers throughout the Baltimore region,” said Governor Hogan. “These exciting new projects are the latest addition to our administration’s ongoing and continued efforts to transform transportation infrastructure in and around Baltimore. With the new investments being announced today, our administration has invested a total of $7 billion for new transportation projects in the Baltimore region.”

The projects announced today include:

$151 million for Innovative Congestion Relief on both inner and outer loops of I-695 from I-70 to MD 43, shifting the inside shoulder into a new available lane of traffic. Adaptive ramp metering also will be employed throughout the limits of the project, which is approximately 19 miles.

$100 million for the design and construction of a new configuration of the I-695 and I-70 interchange, often referred to as the “triple bridges.” This will bring significant traffic relief to the entire Baltimore area and directly addresses six of the top 15 congested road segments in the state.

$210 million to extend the northbound I-95 Express Toll Lanes (ETL) for 7.75 miles from north of MD 43 in Baltimore County to MD 24 in Harford County.

In addition to these initiatives, the administration’s $7 billion investment in new transportation projects in the Baltimore region includes nearly $3.9 billion in new MDOT SHA and MDTA projects and a further $1.7 billion for the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA). This funding represents a number of significant projects such as the widening of the I-695 Outer Loop from US 40 to MD 144; adding a fourth lane on I-95, north of the Fort McHenry Tunnel between the tunnel and Moravia Road; widening MD 32 from MD 108 to I-70; and reconstructing the interchange at MD 175 and MD 295.

On the transit side, MDOT MTA is giving more Marylanders access to high frequency transit and better connections to jobs with the $135 million BaltimoreLink bus system launched in June, and by revitalizing the entire North Avenue Corridor with the $27 million North Avenue Rising project, which the governor launched along with Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh in October.

The Hogan administration is also working with federal partners to bring historic projects to the region. In September, the governor announced a transformative $1.4 billion project to add four new lanes to the entire length of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD 295), from Baltimore City to Washington, D.C. The administration is currently in high-level negotiations with the United States Department of the Interior to transfer ownership of the B-W Parkway to MDTA. In November, the administration also applied for a federal INFRA grant for the $183 million Access I-95: Driving Baltimore City’s Growth project, which would create major economic development benefits for Baltimore City by improving infrastructure and accessibility around Port Covington, leveraging billions of dollars in private investments.

Each of these projects, and dozens of others in Baltimore City and surrounding counties will cut congestion and help improve the quality of life for Marylanders who live and work in the Baltimore area.

Joining the governor was MDOT Secretary Pete K. Rahn, MDTA Executive Director Kevin C. Reigrut and MDOT State Highway Administrator Greg Slater, as well as elected officials and community and business representatives from throughout the Baltimore region.

“Using practical design and innovation, Maryland is laser focused on delivering the best transportation network in the nation,” said Secretary Rahn.

“We have an unprecedented number of projects getting executed across Maryland, and I am excited to build on our previous announcements with real solutions for the Baltimore Beltway,” said Administrator Slater.

“MDTA’s ETL have already demonstrated their benefits to customers using those lanes and to customers using the general non-tolled lanes,” said Executive Director Reigrut. “This project will enhance our efforts to provide a safe and reliable drive for our customers.”

The Baltimore traffic relief initiatives announced today are the latest effort by the Hogan administration to bring common sense transportation solutions to Maryland, and complement the administration’s recently announced plan to add four new lanes to I-270 and I-495 via a $7.6 billion Public Private Partnership (P3), the largest highway P3 in North America.

The Hogan administration’s statewide Traffic Relief Plan is critical to spurring increased economic development and restoring quality of life for countless Marylanders who have been negatively affected by years of traffic congestion, both in the Baltimore City and Washington, D.C. metro areas.

Maryland has the second-longest commuting times in the country, and the National Capital Region is the most congested region in the nation based on annual delay and congestion cost per auto-commuter.

The statewide cost of congestion based on auto delay, truck delay, and wasted fuel and emissions was estimated at $2 billion in 2015, an increase of 22 percent from 2013. More than 98 percent of the weekday congestion cost was incurred in the Baltimore/Washington region.

Suspect on the loose after police chase ends with crash in Rosedale

CrashUPDATE: The suspect is now in police custody.

Original story below…

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A suspect was on the run on Wednesday night after a police pursuit ended with a crash in Rosedale.

At just before 11 p.m., license plate readers at the Fort McHenry Tunnel registered a “hit” on a stolen vehicle.

A high-speed chase followed, which involved officers with the MDTA Police. The driver eventually crashed in the 1200 block of Kahler Avenue in Rosedale.

The suspect then exited the vehicle and fled the scene on foot.

Authorities say the suspect may be armed.

Ramps from I-695 to I-95 in northeast Baltimore to be closed overnight this week

Road ClosedThe Maryland Transportation Authority is advising motorists that some ramps will be closed in northeastern Baltimore County overnight this week.

The ramps from I-695 East (Inner Loop) to I-95 (Exit 33) will be closed overnight on Thursday, October 26, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning.

The detour will direct motorists to eastbound US 40 (Exit 35B), to I-695 West (Outer Loop), to I-95 (Exit 33).

The ramps will be closed so that crews can install a high-mast light pole as part of the Maryland Transportation Authority’s (MDTA) I-95 Improvement Project with Express Toll Lanes (ETL).

Mount Vista task force recommends regional park with community-friendly uses

Baltimore CountyA task force appointed by Councilman David Marks has recommended consolidating several parcels along Raphel Road to create a new Kingsville Regional Park.

In the summer of 2017, Councilman Marks assembled a task force to recommend uses for the former Mount Vista Park property in Kingsville. The task force was chaired by local resident Bill Paulshock and included leaders from area recreation councils and civic organizations. After several meetings, the task force has endorsed the following recommendations.

The Rutkowski Farm (owned by the Maryland Transportation Authority) should be transferred to Baltimore County in exchange for the Schmidt property, presently owned by the county. The Rutkowski Farm and Mount Vista Park would become one regional recreation area.

The westernmost area of this regional recreation area would have passive uses, such as trails and picnic pavilions, as well as a small playground. The easternmost area would have more active uses so that traffic and any noise is focused on the part of the park with fewer residential neighbors. It is recommended that two restrooms service the recreation area, spread appropriately throughout the park.

It is recommended that four large fields (110’ x 65’ feet) and four short fields (80’ x 50’) serve the easternmost area, and that at least one of the large fields have artificial turf. Ground should also be reserved in this area for a future indoor recreation facility. The facility will have dawn-to-dusk hours and none of the fields will be lighted.

The task force is opposing any extension of public water/sewer to this area. It is recommended that this area be renamed “Kingsville Regional Park” and that the current Kingsville Park be renamed “Franklinville Park.”

“We would like a transfer to occur as soon as possible, but if that cannot happen, we want to provide a blueprint for this property for the next County Executive,” Councilman Marks commented.

Over the past seven years, Councilman Marks has worked to open four new parks in Perry Hall and to renovate the current park on Franklinville Road.

Bill Paulshock, the chairman of the task force, thanked the members for their hard work. “We have developed a consensus that will advance the idea of a regional park with community-friendly uses,” Paulshock said.

Both Marks and Paulshock noted that the park concept will need to be done in stages due to cost.