Sunday, August 28, 2016
MD SHA installing lights at River Rd. intersection where 3 died in Bethesda crash
The Maryland State Highway Administration is installing traffic lights around the River Road/Pyle Road/Braeburn Parkway intersection where 3 were killed in a horrific crash in February this year. But they haven't announced what they are doing publicly. Instead, a sizable crew has simply shown up at the site this weekend, closed lanes, and begun to install some type of signals. It appears they are aiming to install them in time for the new school year, and are essentially working around the clock to get it done. Many Walt Whitman High School students turn at this intersection to reach the school, just as that Whitman family did the night their vehicle was struck.
So far, two gleaming metal posts identical to those supporting signals at Wilson Lane have been planted. These are some distance from the intersection, and appear to be for warning lights, as opposed to full traffic signals. Workers are digging extensively between the pedestrian crossing east of the intersection and the new pole on the left side of the westbound lanes. The other pole is on the right side of the eastbound lanes, between Orkney Parkway and Braeburn Parkway.
It's interesting that traffic signals of any kind - full, warning or otherwise - were not among the SHA's most recent list of proposals released this Spring. So this is a considerable backtrack by SHA, and comes after a secondary study period this summer.
More intriguing, is that the project neither appears on the SHA projects list, nor has been announced via press release. The only indirect reference by the State of Maryland that even hints this is happening, is on the CHART road closure list. But all that page says by way of explanation for the lane closures this weekend is "signal work - interconnect."
WMATA has temporarily closed the bus stop at Pyle Road for the T2 (Stop number 2001325). A temporary bus stop has been placed 100' down the road. But the agency attributes the closure only to "construction."
A review of social media accounts of elected officials who have championed a traffic signal finds no announcements, either.
Stay tuned for further updates on this "secret" project.