One of the intersections which creates some of the longest backups for commuters will become a little easier to navigate next month.
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration plans to complete construct and begin the operations of a new 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 is anticipating completing construction on the new traffic signal in mid-October that is of course if weather permits the work to continue.
The new signal at intersection of MD-117 and MD 121 will “operate in fully actuated mode, implying signal timing will be determined by traffic volume demand at each intersection approach,” said Gischlar. “Video queue detectors, which work on the principle of video image processing, will be installed at every approach. Video detection functions to reduce the waiting time of vehicles at the traffic signal and to optimize traffic flow by detecting vehicle presence.”
In 2014, community members, as well as the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, requested that the SHA study daily congestion related concerns at the intersection. 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. 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. 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).
The traffic signal was initially scheduled for installation in the Fall of 2016, but during the design process, there was a design change, according to Gischlar. “As a result, the MDOT SHA re-evaluated the intersection design and concluded that the northern intersection of MD 117 and MD 121 would be better served through a full color, coordinated signal operating as a couplet with the southern intersection of MD 117 and Clopper Road. With the signalization of MD 117 and MD 121, the delays and queues experienced along eastbound MD 117 at MD 121 would be addressed and there would be no further need for hazard identification beacons (HIB) (previously proposed for the Clopper Rd/Clarksburg Rd intersection).”
The signal will only operate in full-color mode during the morning rush hours from 6:30 am to 9:00 am. At all other times, the signal will flash a red indication for all approaches, meaning after full-color operation, vehicles will have to treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
Top: The intersection at Clarksburg Road and Barnesville Road has been a spot which has created much frustration for drivers in recent years. A new traffic signal will hopefully alleviate some issues at the intersection.
Next: The proximity of the intersection with Clarksburg Road and Clopper Road creates issues as all three roads are heavily traveled during the morning rush hour.
Photos by Germantown Pulse