Changes Coming to Route 5 Next Year

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The half mile section of Route 5 that separates the Historic Campus from the Main Campus is set to undergo several changes over the next year or two. Phase one of these changes are set to begin this summer. The deep concrete swale that has been responsible for draining storm water from the roadway for the past several decades is to be replaced with a shallower and more environmentally sensitive grass swale. The shoulder is going to be trimmed back on both sides of the road in order to make room for eight ft. wide pedestrian sidewalks. In addition, a crosswalk is to be added between the edge of the wooden pedestrian bridge across St. John’s Pond and the boathouse parking lot. The college is also looking to install over a dozen new lamp posts to light the pedestrian sidewalk.

Perhaps the most drastic changes slated to occur this summer is to the intersection between Route 5 and Trinity Church Road. The turn is going to be shifted so that it is more of a T-Intersection. This will allow cars turning right off Trinity Road to make a shallower turn without peeling into the lane of oncoming traffic. Another benefit is that the sharper angle should prevent cars from rocketing off Route 5 as though Trinity Church Road is an off ramp. In the words of Director of Design and Construction, Daniel Branigan “cars roar down that road at ludicrous speeds; honestly, it’s a miracle no one has been killed.”

Looking farther into the future, phase two of the changes to Route 5 involves improvements to the road and bridge in front of college drive. The college hopes to build a new foot path along the college property that borders Route 5 and a 700 ft wooden foot bridge across the swamp that separates the rugby fields from the rest of the college. At present, the shoulder of the road is dangerous and not conducive to pedestrian traffic. The situation on the bridge is even worse; where pedestrians have barely ten inches of shoulder to walk on.

The college received five bids for the construction contract. W.M. Davis, a general contracting company based in Southern Maryland,  offered the lowest bid, winning them the contract. At the time of writing, the college is waiting for permission from the State Highway Administration to formally award the contract to W.M Davis.  The total contract award is for $996,000, of which the college is contributing $150,000 to make up the difference between the federal funding available for the project and the actual cost of the construction. Approval to award the bid is expected any day. Phase one is scheduled for completion by Jul 1, 2014 and phase two is anticipated to begin sometime in 2015.

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