Reporting Pat Warren
HANOVER, Md. (WJZ)—Traffic troubles are a major concern for people living around Arundel Mills Mall. The 2012 opening of the Arundel Mills slots casino has many expecting the worst.
Pat Warren has details of an engineering innovation planners hope will smooth things over.
Transportation planners have hit on an idea. Turn a circle into a diamond. Drivers have strong opinions of the existing traffic around Arundel Mills.
“Oh, it’s horrible,” said one driver.
“Terrible, awful,” said another. “I’d rather not come here if I didn’t have to.”
And they give traffic patterns a thumbs down.
“I think anytime you do development like has been done around here you need to consider traffic effects first and obviously they haven’t,” said one motorist.
It appears they are now. Slots casino traffic is expected to clog the 295 and Arundel Mills Boulevard interchange, but a Baltimore County company, the Traffic Group, has a plan it says runs circles around the roundabouts.
The plan is a diamond, a diverging diamond interchange “that creates more capacity, less conflict, and it’s safer,” said Wes Guckert.
An animation posted on YouTube shows how a diverging diamond interchange works. The State Highway Administration approves the concept as a replacement for the Arundel Boulevard roundabouts.
“You basically cross over on the opposite side of the road and make a left turn, but when you’re making the left turn off the ramp you’re making the left turn unopposed,” Guckert said.
It’s a never-before-seen concept in Maryland but has proven to reduce accidents in other states. Still some folks aren’t as concerned about traffic design as they are about drivers in traffic.
“Well, there’s not much that’s simpler than a circle, and this is pretty much one big circle,” said Kim Stancliff, “so I think people just have to be considerate and take their turn and everything would be OK.”
But any improvement is welcome.
The State Highway Administration has approved the concept and is waiting to review the final plans.
There are only five diverging diamond interchanges operating in the United States; 14 more are in the planning stages.