MDOT officials discuss transportation priorities in Worcester County

WORCESTER Co., Md. – On Tuesday, members of the Maryland Department of Transportation met with the Worcester County Commissioners to discuss transportation priorities in the area.

Those priorities included the rehabilitation of the US 50 Harry Kelly Bridge, the dualization of US 113, and the construction of a pedestrian path in West Ocean City along US 50.

Some county officials left Tuesday’s meeting feeling more frustrated than satisfied though, after they realized that certain projects once again did not make it onto the state’s list of priorities.

Delegate Wayne Hartman (R – D 38C) said, “It’s just frustrating not to see anything happening.”

County officials want the state to consider dualizing Route 90.

District 7 County Commissioner Joe Mitrecic said, “Right now, Ocean City is an island. If the Route 50 bridge gets stuck in the up position and that’s cut off and there’s an accident on Route 90, it becomes even more of an island.”

The main reason why county leaders want Route 90 to be four lanes rather than two lanes is to address safety concerns.

Del. Hartman said, “Route 90, if it gets shut down, there is no way emergency equipment can move off the island. That’s a huge safety concern.”

County leaders also want the state to look at ways they can address traffic on Route 589. So far, the state has begun building a second left-turn lane from eastbound Route 50 to Route 589, but the state says they don’t have enough money in their budget right now to do more than that. That’s the problem. While the state can begin work on small projects, they say they simply don’t have enough money or resources right now to make the dualization of Route 90 or the complete reworking of Route 589 a priority.

MDOT’s Deputy Transportation Secretary R. Earl Lewis Jr. said, “If we had billions of more dollars, we [still] couldn’t do everything we would like to do, so we have to make hard choices related to what transportation projects we’re able to fund.”

This year, Worcester County received a total of about $2,300,000 in Highway User Revenues this year, which is almost $300,000 more than last year.

If you would like to learn more about the state’s transportation priorities for the area you can click here.

Categories: Local News, Maryland