The Queen Anne’s County Commissioners and the state continue to seek solutions to curb traffic gridlock on Kent Island. Recently two new initiatives have been agreed upon, a study of the feasibility of a Cox Creek Connector Road and the placement of a “Local Traffic Only” and “No Bay Bridge Traffic” sign.
As envisioned in the long range Kent Island Transportation Plan, a Cox Creek Connector Road would see a new two lane roadway from Thompson Creek Road to Cox Neck Road following the alignment of US 50/301. Connection options include tying into Ellicott Drive, Cecil Drive, or a new alignment connecting to Postal Road. Alternatively, construct a one-way westbound roadway in this same location. In either alternative, pedestrian and bicycle facilities should be considered to enhance connectivity on the south side of the Island. The result would provide additional east-west connectivity between, particularly on the south side of US 50/301, where such connection does not exist.
County Commissioner Robert Buckey said, the county applied for and received a $50,000 grant to evaluate the feasibility of the connector road from the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board. “The BRTB approved our FY2019 capital budget request in the amount of $50,000 (80-20 federal/local split) to evaluate the feasibility of the Cox Creek Connector road from south Stevensville to South Chester. The feasibility study will look at project cost, right-of-way needs, number of lanes required, limits/length of bridge needed, impacts to sewer pump station, and volume of local traffic that would be alleviated from mainline US 50 backups.”
Commissioner Buckey added, "Piney Creek Road now will have Local Traffic Only Signs to help reduce the traffic back-up we regularly have when Rt50 is backed up. This should help to reduce Traffic congestion on Rt18 and Piney Creek Road during a traffic jam on Rt50. Plus something I have been working on for a while is the Cox Creek Bridge Connector. I had a meeting about 2 months ago with the State and Representatives of Ben Carson Department along with Todd Mohn and Steve Cohoon it was announced at Tuesday commissioners meeting the County is going to receive a Federal Grant on how we can go about moving forward with the "Cox Creek Bridge Connector". If we can get this bridge this will help Chester and Kent Island Citizens tremendously, knowing you have a alternate route when Rt50 is backed-up, and for Emergency Services this will help knowing they can get around much easier and better response times. Something else I have been looking at for the past 3 years is how can we help reduce the congestion on out local roads RT18 when RT50 is backed-up. There is a app called Waze is it on most smart phones and in all automotive navigation systems, The short version is, when Rt50 is backed-up Waze gives the divers a alternate route and by asking Waze to take out this alternate route when there is a back-up Rt18 will not show up as a DETOUR to the Bay Bridge in essence keeping vehicles off RT18. This should keep the vehicles on RT50 and not congesting our back roads so the residence of Chester and Kent Island can rely more on Rt18 when a back-ups occur. I know this is not going to solve of the traffic problems but we need to start somewhere."
The BRTB is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Baltimore region. As an MPO, the BRTB is directly responsible for making sure that any money spent on existing and future transportation projects and programs is based on a continuing, cooperative and comprehensive (3-C) planning process. All transportation projects and programs that receive federal funding in our region go through this planning process.
The BRTB is a 13-member board representing the cities of Annapolis and Baltimore, the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard, and Queen Anne's and the Maryland Department of Transportation, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the Maryland Department of Planning, Maryland Transit Administration and Harford Transit.
Another effort to combat traffic congestion on Kent Island’s side roads is a Local Traffic Only sign. State guidelines will not allow such a sign in the their right-of-way, however the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners voted unanimously to place a “Local Traffic Only” and “No Bay Bridge Traffic” sign on a county right of way, on Piney Creek Road adjacent to the Exit 40A off ramp near Gibson’s Grant.
County Commissioner Mark Anderson said, “In addition to these actions, given a third bridge is decades into the future, wherever it may be located, the only immediate solution for this summer-time road clogging problem caused by returning Ocean City travelers is to explore the county owned roads and restrict their use to residents at certain times during the summer. That can only happen with the roads in county ownership. I would like to explore the acquisition of Maryland Route 18 and add it to the county road inventory. The county can set year-round truck weight limits (excepting local pick up and deliveries) to reduce wear and tear, as well as limiting use of these roads to county residents at certain peak times during the summer months. The current situation is intolerable, and 'out of the box' ideas must be discussed and pursued to provide relief.”