Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some Maryland Roads Are More Dangerous Than Others

Mountain Road in Anne Arundel County, also known as State Road 177, has seen many sad memorials in recent years. At least twenty people, many very young, have died in automobile accidents along the 11-mile stretch since the early 1990's. At least fourteen have died in car accidents along the road in just the last decade. The road basically causes the loss of one life a year.

It is simply a once-pastoral suburban byway that now experiences a heavy traffic load. For many residents of Pasadena, there is no alternative route. The State Highway Administration (SHA) acknowledges that the road has an unusual configuration. Not surprisingly, most of the accident victims have been Pasadena residents.


Some things on the road clearly stand out. First, near Fairwood Court, and just east of a sharp curve, there is a building that sits no more than twelve feet from the westbound travel lane.

State Highway Administration figures show that parts of Rt. 177 carry 26,530 vehicles per day. Nevertheless, for much of its length Mountain Road is just a two lane road with a scary reverse lane in the middle designed to relieve peak-hour congestion. Shoulders are limited and countless fixed objects are just a few feet from the edge of the pavement. Including, buildings, trees and utility poles. There is little room for driver error on Mountain Road.

As if things weren't bad enough, SHA figures show there were at least 107 fatal and non-fatal crashes related to drunk driving on the road from 2001 to 2010. In fact, Mountain Road has the highest rate of drunk driving arrests and crashes in Anne Arundel County.

Without more land for expansion and a lot of money, there is no real solution