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Md. approves diverging diamond “concept”

The State Highway Administration has provided a little post-holiday clarity after Tuesday’s story on the wacky diverging diamond traffic pattern that some planners think will alleviate congestion at the interchange at Arundel Mills Boulevard and Maryland 295.

SHA has approved the concept of the design, according to spokesman Charlie Gischaler.

“SHA ‘s Office of Access Management engineers are still awaiting receipt of the plans for the design and will review the plans to ensure that the additional traffic is safely mitigated,” he wrote in an email.

SHA couldn’t track down that information late last week as state offices were closed Friday as part of a budget-balancing move, and many workers took off Thursday as well to extend their already extended holiday weekend to five days.

For more background, Gischlar added:

It is worth noting that commercial or residential developers are required to submit a traffic impact study to SHA if our roads (the state-numbered routes) will be impacted by a development. Engineers from SHA ‘s Office of Access Management evaluate the impact study for the safest and most effective improvement to mitigate the traffic increase due to the development , as well as storm water management, materials and many other functions involved in road improvements. The developer is responsible for construction of the improvement. SHA will then inspect the traffic improvement, whether its a new stop sign, turn lanes, etc) to make sure it was built according to our requirements.

The diverging diamond at the Arundel Mills exit would be Maryland’s first intersection of that design. The basic idea is to eliminate left turns across traffic, a factor traffic consultants blame for much of the congestion and accidents at conventional intersections. (Check out a youtube video of the diverging diamond concept here.)

Planners hope to have the work completed in time to open the revamped intersection along with the Maryland Live! Casino being built next to Arundel Mills shopping mall by developer David Cordish.