Warning Sign Added Before Beltway Ramp
Maryland's highway administration said today that it took a step to help drivers confused by the new traffic pattern at a Capital Beltway exit in Silver Spring. A new message board is in place before Exit 29 on the outer loop reading "MD 193 east and west - use exit 29."
Motorists who follow those directions will arrive at a rebuilt ramp, now controlled by a traffic light, which takes drivers either east or west onto Route 193 (University Boulevard).
The green overhead signs on the outer loop had been changed to reflect the new pattern, in which the rebuilt ramp does the job formerly performed by two ramps, which were designated A and B. The second one, which used to take drivers east on University toward Langley Park, is now closed.
"Before the [rebuilt] ramp opened and the traffic signal was activated, SHA placed a variable message sign advising motorists of the upcoming traffic pattern change well in advance of the ramp along I-495,' Chuck Gischlar, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said in an e-mail. "In addition to the variable message sign, SHA changed the overhead highway signs to indicate to motorists that the new single ramp access to both directions along MD 193 was in operation."
"However, we know that many motorists are, like everyone, prone to daily habits. SHA placed (today) a variable message sign prior to the exit that reads, 'MD 193 east and west - use exit 29.' SHA will keep the variable message signs in place for approximately one week to further guide motorists to the appropriate exit."
You should still watch out for the rough and uneven pavement on the ramp. The work isn't done. And watch out for the construction workers, too, who are also out along the Beltway before the ramp. Also, if you've got friends who might be using Google or Mapquest directions to plot a route involving exit 29, warn them that the maps haven't caught up with the new pattern yet, and they should ignore the instruction to take the now non-existent exit B.
The highway administration also is making changes at the nearby interchange for inner loop traffic heading south onto Georgia Avenue. Please let me know how these are working out for you. The rebuilt ramp at Georgia Avenue, which has a new traffic signal, should have two lanes open by the end of the month.
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