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Traffic Light Planned for Clopper Road Intersection

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration has plans to install a traffic light at the west end of Clopper Road, where it intersects with Clarksburg Road in Boyds and the nearby intersection of Clarksburg Road and Barnesville Road.

According to Charlie Gischlar, public information officer with the Maryland State Highway Administration, the SHA was asked to look into the traffic and congestion at the intersection of MD-117 and MD 121 the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and members of the surrounding community about two years ago.

The intersection is tricky because of the proximity of the CSX train overpass and the change of MD-117 from Clopper Road to Barnesville Road, often creates traffic jams during morning rush hours. It lies at the western end of Clopper Road and the eastern end of Barnesville Road. Motorists wishing to continue on MD-117 must turn onto MD-121 for about 330-feet, go under the train tracks, and then turn back on to MD-117.

“Approximately two years ago, community members, as well as the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, requested that the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration study daily congestion related concerns at the intersection of MD 117, which is Barnesville Road and MD 121, Clarksburg Road,” said Gischlar. The study found that the average daily traffic volumes for each road at the intersection were 7,500 vehicles per day for MD 117/Copper Road and 4,000 vehicles per day for MD 121/Clarksburg Road.

In the study, SHA engineers noted that the all-way stop condition at the intersection of MD 117 (Clopper Road/ Clarksburg Road) and Clopper Road contributed to excessive delays during the morning peak hours of traffic, according to Gischlar. Traffic queues extend northerly to near Little Seneca Lake in the southbound direction during the morning peak. This queue blocked eastbound MD-117 (Barnesville Road) from being able to turn right to continue to MD-121 (Clarksburg Road) and continue eastbound on MD-117 (Clopper Road), he said.

“Traffic analyses conducted by SHA that suggested that a part-time traffic signal be installed at the MD 117/Clopper Road intersection,” said Gischlar. “This will address the excessive morning traffic delays. As such, a part-time morning traffic signal was approved for installation at this location.”

The traffic signal is scheduled for installation in the Fall of 2016, but Gischlar said there may be property line wrinkles which need to be ironed out before the traffic signals can be installed and may create delays.

“Although the installation of the traffic signal is currently scheduled for the fall of this year, SHA is determining the exact SHA property line extends. There may not be enough SHA right-of-way, which could throw the date out a bit while we determine how much land is required to install the traffic signal,” said Gischlar.