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Author Topic: MD 404 widening  (Read 9724 times)

davewiecking

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MD 404 widening
« on: September 01, 2015, 06:11:56 PM »

As has been noted elsewhere, Governor Hogan recently determined that widening MD 404 from US 50 to the Denton Bypass was an important highway project deserving of state funds. Others have derided this as being merely a road for people to get to out of state beaches. However, the fact that this old 2 lane road is the most hazardous in the state (according to a state official with a large hat who wished to discuss my rate of travel along this road a few months back) means I don't really care WHO uses it-it's in MD and nobody else is going to make it safer. Many of those who drive along it, especially between Memorial Day and Labor Day, are the type who left their brains on the other side of the WPL Mem Bridge, and who never learned how to pass safely, or the meaning of striped vs solid lane markings.

The Denton Bypass was the first 4 lane section, constructed in the early 1980's, and was extended a few miles eastward across Watts Creek and past the MD 16 intersection within the past 5 years. Currently a project is underway to widen the intersection with MD 309 and across Tuckahoe Creek (scheduled for completion in summer of 2017); this is listed as Project 1B. Just east of this, Phase 1A dualized about a mile around the MD 480 intersection-completed in 2012. (A few years ago, turn lanes were added at the MD 313 intersection-this appeared to be an SHA maintenance project, because I never saw anything other than SHA equipment working here. This stretch is NOT part of the new initiative.) Otherwise, this road is basically the same as when it was first built in the 50's, and for many drivers it is their only experience at driving on an extremely congested 2 lane road.

Based on how far most of the utility poles are from the current roadbed, my guess is the SHA already owns a substantial portion of the RoW.

SHA website has long listed this project, cut into phases. Phases 2A and 2B are in the design phase; these involve no signalized intersections or significant waterways, but sediment control and runoff issues nonetheless. The map I just found (linked from http://apps.roads.maryland.gov/WebProjectLifeCycle/ProjectPhotos.aspx?projectno=AW896215) indicates that Phase 2B includes a section just west of MD 309, but work here is underway with the bridge project, so I don't completely trust the map. On Monday, I did see some surveyors working just west of the 309 project, so perhaps that is truly Phase 2B. Some of the wording on the website mentions a Phase 5, but it's not on the map.

In addition to needing more funds to address problems with the state's highways, SHA also needs a webmaster. The number of links for this ongoing project that lead to "no information available at this time" or similar is not terribly helpful. A few months ago, the SHA contact on the website did send me a nice PDF showing the work at the bridge, but this document doesn't come up when you click on the "maps" link for this project, so I feel pretty special to have a copy.

SHA website also includes plans to 6-lane US 50 from US 301 southward, but nobody seems to be pushing it. It's unfortunate that they will widen 404, but not be able to grade separate the 50/404 intersection. But I guess since there will be a nice bottleneck wherever the 4 lane portion ends, there's no point in enabling more traffic to get ON this stretch of road to begin with.

Construction to start Spring 2017.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2015, 07:24:30 PM »

I thought that the long-term plans for U.S. 50 involved grade-separated interchanges at Md. 213 and at Md. 404?

And possibly full access control from Queenstown to Md. 404?
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davewiecking

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2015, 08:04:31 PM »

Looooonnnng term, yes. Work on 50 is not part of Hogan's recently announced plan. WB 50 over 301 was rebuilt recently and is still 2 lanes with no shoulder.
50 planned to pass over 404 with a diamond interchange IIRC. Still need to make a left onto 404, but signal would favor that movement.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2015, 08:07:40 PM by davewiecking »
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hbelkins

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2015, 09:16:59 PM »

Seems like the problem at 50-404 could be solved with a single flyover, something like what was done where US 17 leaves its concurrency with US 15-29 south of Warrenton, Va.
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froggie

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2015, 09:34:47 PM »

Quote
Seems like the problem at 50-404 could be solved with a single flyover, something like what was done where US 17 leaves its concurrency with US 15-29 south of Warrenton, Va.

Not completely.  WB 404 to WB 50 is also a major maneuver.  And there is some turning traffic in other directions here.

IMO, a 50/404 interchange should have been the higher priority.  Would have also eliminated the arguments that the 404 widening "benefits Delaware more than Maryland"...
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davewiecking

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2015, 09:51:20 PM »

Seems like the problem at 50-404 could be solved with a single flyover, something like what was done where US 17 leaves its concurrency with US 15-29 south of Warrenton, Va.
Actually I like that idea. WB to WB movement can happen more or less as it does now-it's just a right turn with a yield sign-and leave the rest of the movements alone. The Omar, VA loop ramp isn't what came to mind when I read "flyover", but it could work in this location. I guess it depends on whether we're using hovercraft or US50 towards Easton/St. Michaels gets converted to limited access first.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2015, 10:50:50 PM »

If I was handing out the dollars for highway improvements, I would want a diamond interchange, with a flyover for the 50 EB to 404 EB movement, and the ramp from WB 404 to WB 50 to be gentle and at leas two lanes wide.

The Queen Anne's County pages in the SHA part of the draft 2015 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) has a D&E Program entry for making improvements to U.S. 50 between U.S. 301 and Md. 404, but it is shown as being "on hold."  Probably because of a lack of funding.
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Rothman

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2015, 11:02:51 PM »

Had a girlfriend that lived in Bridgeville, DE.  Too bad we broke up; I would have been all for it. :D
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davewiecking

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2015, 11:30:04 PM »

The Queen Anne's County pages in the SHA part of the draft 2015 Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) has a D&E Program entry for making improvements to U.S. 50 between U.S. 301 and Md. 404, but it is shown as being "on hold."  Probably because of a lack of funding.
Good link. mdot.md.gov should lend their webmaster to apps.roads.md.gov for an afternoon.
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Henry

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 11:17:14 AM »

I'm all for building an interchange at US 50 and MD 404, in addition to widening the latter and making the former a freeway to where MD 90 splits off near Ocean City, with bypasses where needed (around Easton and Cambridge).
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Mr_Northside

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2015, 03:34:24 PM »

I'm all for building an interchange at US 50 and MD 404, in addition to widening the latter and making the former a freeway to where MD 90 splits off near Ocean City, with bypasses where needed (around Easton and Cambridge).

Making that drive this weekend... and it would be nice.  But it ain't gonna happen.
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davewiecking

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2015, 05:54:41 PM »

I'm all for building an interchange at US 50 and MD 404, in addition to widening the latter and making the former a freeway to where MD 90 splits off near Ocean City, with bypasses where needed (around Easton and Cambridge).
I'm all for that, but this isn't fictional highways...
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froggie

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2015, 09:43:44 AM »

Easton wouldn't really need a bypass...MD 322 could theoretically be converted into a narrow 4-lane freeway with minimal ROW acquisition (though it'd be expensive).  But you can pretty much forget a Cambridge bypass.  Would require a huge new bridge (likely a mile long if not longer) over the Choptank River plus several other smaller bridges over inlets and wetlands.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2015, 10:08:50 AM »

Easton wouldn't really need a bypass...MD 322 could theoretically be converted into a narrow 4-lane freeway with minimal ROW acquisition (though it'd be expensive).

As long as I can remember, there have been a lot of businesses fronting on U.S. 50 in Easton.  But I doubt that the big money in Talbot County (compare and contrast with the big money in Fauquier County, Virginia) would like the idea of a Md. 332 bypass at all, even though there is no Talbot Environmental Council at this point in time.

But you can pretty much forget a Cambridge bypass.  Would require a huge new bridge (likely a mile long if not longer) over the Choptank River plus several other smaller bridges over inlets and wetlands.

Prior to the 1980's, the congestion to cross the two lane draw span over the Choptank River at Cambridge could be epic during the summer months.  But that bridge, and the one at Vienna were replaced (and Vienna was bypassed entirely), making for a much easier ride to and from Ocean City. 
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Rothman

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2015, 01:55:40 PM »

Why would you want to bypass Cambridge?  Has one of the cheapest gas stations in the region. :D
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Mr_Northside

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2015, 03:47:04 PM »

Why would you want to bypass Cambridge?  Has one of the cheapest gas stations in the region. :D

Trappe used to have a gas station called "Lowest Price"  (It looked like it was remodeled into something else last month).  I remember at least once noting that it didn't, in fact, have the lowest price on US-50 in Delmarva.

Not that anything of the sort will/would ever get built, but something limited-access more closely following (and maybe utilizing) the 404 corridor into Delaware, then something built as a N/S corridor (near 113?) would probably be the way to go for a limited-access solution to the beach areas, as opposed to the US-50 corridor - mostly due to the Cambridge issue listed above.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2015, 03:49:43 PM by Mr_Northside »
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ixnay

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2015, 07:47:40 AM »

I'm all for building an interchange at US 50 and MD 404, in addition to widening the latter and making the former a freeway to where MD 90 splits off near Ocean City, with bypasses where needed (around Easton and Cambridge).
I'm all for that, but this isn't fictional highways...

Which is why I started http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=16372.0 .

ixnay
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ixnay

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2015, 07:49:34 AM »

Easton wouldn't really need a bypass...MD 322 could theoretically be converted into a narrow 4-lane freeway with minimal ROW acquisition (though it'd be expensive).

As long as I can remember, there have been a lot of businesses fronting on U.S. 50 in Easton.  But I doubt that the big money in Talbot County (compare and contrast with the big money in Fauquier County, Virginia) would like the idea of a Md. 332 bypass at all, even though there is no Talbot Environmental Council at this point in time.

But you can pretty much forget a Cambridge bypass.  Would require a huge new bridge (likely a mile long if not longer) over the Choptank River plus several other smaller bridges over inlets and wetlands.

Prior to the 1980's, the congestion to cross the two lane draw span over the Choptank River at Cambridge could be epic during the summer months. But that bridge, and the one at Vienna were replaced (and Vienna was bypassed entirely), making for a much easier ride to and from Ocean City.

I know what that was like.

ixnay
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Mr_Northside

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2015, 03:33:01 PM »

I distinctly remember a horrible backup thru Vienna for the 2-lane drawbridge over the Nanticoke in the mid-late 80's on the way to the beach,. 
It was those trouble spots that led to my family using MD-404/US-113 for a handful of years instead.
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davewiecking

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #19 on: September 22, 2015, 09:55:52 AM »

2 photos taken last Friday. Eastbound approach to the new bridge is in place, but nothing yet on the westbound approach. Funny thing is a client emailed me this morning that he'd seen me taking the second photo...

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davewiecking

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2015, 05:15:53 PM »

State Announces Route 404 Dualization Project Completion Date

11 miles from US 50 to Denton to be dualized by fall 2017. Some portions already are, and one section is in progress. Surveyors have been spotted in the woods and fields adjacent the 2 lane stretches the last month or so.
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ixnay

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2015, 06:53:08 PM »

I distinctly remember a horrible backup thru Vienna for the 2-lane drawbridge over the Nanticoke in the mid-late 80's on the way to the beach,. 
It was those trouble spots that led to my family using MD-404/US-113 for a handful of years instead.

That bottleneck gave alternate meaning to Billy Joel's lyric line, "When will you realize Vienna waits for you".

ixnay
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BrianP

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #22 on: November 23, 2015, 04:24:20 PM »

NEW MD 404 BRIDGE OPENS TO TRAFFIC
http://www.marylandroads.com/pages/release.aspx?newsId=2412
Quote
SHA’s contractor will begin construction of a new westbound span this winter.
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davewiecking

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #23 on: November 23, 2015, 07:37:00 PM »

NEW MD 404 BRIDGE OPENS TO TRAFFIC
http://www.marylandroads.com/pages/release.aspx?newsId=2412
Quote
SHA’s contractor will begin construction of a new westbound span this winter.
And a mighty smooth ride it is, although the western transition is a bit bumpy. But it's a temporary construction crossover...
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davewiecking

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Re: MD 404 widening
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2017, 01:14:28 PM »

Seem to have started this thread, then let it lay dormant for exactly 2 years. The fact that I stopped driving this corridor on a regular basis a big reason, and none of the photos are all that great. But here are a few anyway...

First three taken June 2, 2017. This shows the bridge over Norwich Creek (just east of MD309)-the biggest structure on the project:

This photo of a box culvert shows how much higher the new (westbound) lanes are than the original (now eastbound) lanes. Photo taken on the western portion of the just-completed widening (between MD309 and Denton):

And a shot of the built-up earthwork to get the new lanes out of the swamp; taken slightly east of the second photo:


Driving this corridor on August 31, traffic was stopped in both directions for 10 minutes so that workers could adjust the temporary road stripe at a small intersection (I think it was Fox Meadow Rd). Both directions of traffic were traveling on the new roadway at this point:


And lastly a photo taken earlier this month (Nov 11), showing the bridge from photo 1 above:


As Beltway, froggie and RoadPelican have posted in the main MD thread, neither MD nor DE have any serious plans to widen the portion between Denton, MD and Georgetown, DE. MD's plans for widening/interchanging US 50 (US-301 to MD-404) have been on planning books for decades, but has never been funded. DE is more interested in moving people north-south within the state, with much less attention being paid to east-west traffic. The upcoming interchange at DE-404/US-113 will help some, as long as the US-113/US-9 intersection gets interchanged first.

The plans for a diamond interchange at the intersection of US-50 and MD-404 have been online for quite some time. I can't find the email, but sometime in 2015 I asked an SHA engineer if he thought the diamond interchange (traffic light for left turn at the base of the ramp) would be adequate for the traffic volume from EB US-50 to EB MD-404. He stated that the light would be set to favor the left turning traffic and their studies showed that would be sufficient.

Meanwhile, 2 lanes of 404 Sunday summer traffic all trying to nose into the one right turn lane onto WB 50 will be problematic.
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