GREAT MILLS, Md. — The following letter was sent to the Editor of TheBayNet.com by Maryland State Delegate Brian Crosby[D-St. Mary’s]. Crosby was elected in 2018 to his first term in the legislature and is seeking re-election this year.
“I have consistently fought for the reconstruction of the Route 5 and Great Mills Road intersection throughout my time in office. Despite my best efforts and the desperate need to fix this nightmare of an intersection, this project has been pushed aside. This year I introduced HB1022 to mandate the allocation of construction funding.
This intersection sees over 19,000 commuters daily but has been ignored by the State Highway Administration for almost 20 years. By State Highway’s own estimates, commuters spend a total of 23,280 hours in traffic at this intersection each year. The intersection is poorly maintained, burdened with traffic, and deadly. It is a consistent negative mark on Pax River in the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. This intersection has been the number one infrastructure issue for St. Mary’s County for almost two decades.
Residents of St. Mary’s know that around 4 PM every day, the intersection is almost impossible to move through. The base ends its work day. Webster Field employees are going home. Parents are picking their kids up from school and taking them to after school activities. On my commute home from work on Webster Field, it has taken me an hour and a half to get from Willows Road through the intersection during a storm. This intersection is only expected to get worse as St. Mary’s County’s population grows. Traffic is expected to increase 27% by 2040.
There was no movement on this project until 2019, when I worked with the State Highway Administration to finalize a plan for the reconstruction. I was assured by the Administration that this project would be fully funded in the FY 2020 budget. They did not mention that this funding was contingent on federal grants that the state did not receive.
State Highway then put in the same effort for FY 2021 and did not receive the grant funding once again. I am not aware of the pursuit of any new funding avenues, which is frustrating. For two years, representatives of State Highway have said that they are trying to settle deals for right-of-way purchases for the expansion, but in many cases, they are not even making offers to these property owners. Instead, they are requesting property owners to put a for sale price on property they don’t wish to sell. It’s not hard to imagine how that is going.
I find it hard to believe that in a year where the state has billions of dollars in surplus, State Highway does not have the budget to fund this project. So, HB1022 mandates that the funds are appropriated.
I have taken my colleagues and the Speaker of the House of Delegates to this intersection, and they recognize the importance of this project. Our community needs and deserves the reconstruction of the Route 5 and Great Mills Road intersection now and not on the un-transparent and delayed SHA timeline.
-Del. Brian Crosby”