BERLIN – The countdown crosswalk long lobbied for by Berlin citizens is finally in place at the intersection of Route 113 and Bay Street.
A year and a half after a local teenager was killed trying to cross the highway, crews from Maryland’s State Highway Administration (SHA) have completed $128,000 in improvements to the intersection.
“Safety is our number one priority,” said SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar.
Gischlar said crews had just finished a variety of safety-oriented changes at the Route 113 and Bay Street intersection. The largest of those is a crosswalk complete with a countdown clock to give pedestrians visible and audible notification of how much time they have to safely cross the street. Crews have also made the intersection ADA accessible. In addition, the span wire that previously held the intersection’s traffic signals in place has been replaced with metal arms. Gischlar says the metal beams are higher than the wire was, which will make traveling the route safer for vehicles.
“In the event of an evacuation there’s no chance of anything getting caught in those span wires,” he said.
The array of improvements to the intersection comes after the November 2013 death of 16-year-old Tymeir Dennis. The teen was struck and killed by a Maryland State Trooper while crossing Route 113.
Area residents quickly formed the Berlin Pedestrian Safety Committee and began talks with SHA officials to see what could be done to make local roadways safer for those on foot. The group’s efforts led to the reduction of the speed limit on Route 113 through Berlin to 45 mph. Concern from committee members also prompted local law enforcement to step up speed enforcement efforts.
Gischlar said SHA representatives were happy to work with the committee and to do what they could to increase pedestrian and vehicle awareness at the intersection.
“We implemented these changes in the interest of safety,” he said.
Now that the work in the Bay Street area is complete, he said engineers were evaluating potential improvements to the Route 113 and Old Ocean City Boulevard intersection. He says it’s possible that area will see the same changes as the Bay Street intersection.
“It’s likely,” he said. “They’re still analyzing pedestrian traffic as well as vehicle traffic. A lot of things go into these studies.”