~*~ Rara Avis ~*~
Hollywood, MD - As many people have surely noticed, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has been quite active surrounding Airport Road in Hollywood. Many complaints have been directed towards the inability to make a turn onto the road from the southbound direction of Route 235.
Recently, the Wildewood Planned Unit Development was granted permission to make some critical changes along the road to support road congestion. Although work has recently resumed, the contractor has seen some major delays such as the necessity of stopping work in order to acquire the barrier wall prohibiting turns.
Nonetheless, people have been observed as avoiding the “detour route” and making illegal turns onto the road. Additionally, drivers have been shorting the detour by cutting through what used to be the ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise’ parking lot.
Upon completion of the project, residents can expect to see a third through lane extending up the southbound side of Route 235. Additionally, drivers can expect to see a second turn lane on the northbound side of Route 235 at the intersection with Airport Road.
However, the biggest change that is coming to Airport Road in the months ahead is a road realignment. Gary Whipple, P.E. from engineering services at the St. Mary's County Board of Public Works and Transportation told the TheBayNet.com that they are currently preparing to accept bids for the realignment that would allow extension to the taxiway at the airport. The FAA has already given grant money to support this airport expansion. Now, the nearby roads must be realigned to meet distance standards for the airport. This road work will extend from the entrance of Cottonwood Parkway to the entrance of the airport and is anticipated to begin in January.
All work around this area could be considered critical given the technical manufacturing expansions being made around the airport. With technical manufacturing companies being slated as one of the largest suppliers of jobs in the county, infrastructure improvements are being fought for to continue the diversification of the economy away from Department of Defense reliance.
Shanteé Felix from the SHA Office of Communications says that all road-work on the southbound side of Route 235 is on track and is expected to be completed "before winter weather begins". Work on the northbound side is set to begin in the spring of 2019.
I have seen several people make the now illegal right hand turn onto Airport Road from southbound 235 and so far it has been a miracle they haven't caused an accident. And I sincerely doubt the southbound side of 235 work will be completed "before winter weather begins."