Reporting Mike Schuh
HANOVER, Md. (WJZ)—Maryland’s largest casino is almost ready to open, and now work begins to handle the increased traffic it will bring to the Arundel Mills area.
Mike Schuh reports that for the first time, a developer is investing millions in public roads to help ease the congestion.
Casino carpeting rolls out as we see the plan to keep cars rolling outside.
“This will be the first one in Maryland,” said Lee Starkloff, SHA district engineer.
He’s talking about a type of high-volume intersection and off ramp. On the road to the casino where it hits the Parkway, there are two large traffic circles. It’s a place where, right now, traffic can pile up. Imagine what it would be like once 2,000 additional cars per hour arrive without the new traffic pattern.
Without it, “we would have had severe backups,” Starkoff said.
So as part of the deal to allow the casino to be built, the developer had to rebuild an off ramp, and 16 smaller road sections nearby. That’s $5 million for public roads paid for by the casino.
“If this project had to be funded by the public side, it would take a decade to get done,” said Joseph Weinberg, Cordish Company.
It’s commonplace for developers to have to make traffic improvements, perhaps adding a turn lane, but a project this big is unprecedented in Maryland.
The state required the casino to build this big enough not only to handle the extra traffic caused by their customers but big enough to handle everything being built here by any developer.
“The state and county were smart and they used their leverage on the project to encourage us to make improvements in the area,” Weinberg said.
The casino opens June 6. The interchange will be completed before then.