WEST OCEAN CITY – A long-discussed traffic signal has been installed at a busy West Ocean City intersection just in time for summer.
Maryland’s State Highway Administration (SHA) installed a new traffic signal at the intersection of Sunset Avenue and Route 611 last week.
“The signal at Sunset Avenue will become fully operational once we finish some road work in the area,” said Bob Rager, district community liaison for SHA. “Mostly paving and striping.”
The need for a traffic signal at the busy intersection — frequented by motorists going from West Ocean City to Assateague, South Point and Berlin — has been discussed for years. In 2013, a SHA study confirmed a need for the signal.
According to Rager, SHA follows the same procedure whether there’s a local request for a signal or not.
“From our perspective the process is the same whether we receive an outside request or are looking at an intersection pursuant to an internal review,” he said. “We initiate a traffic study, review the results and examine intersection control options based on those results.”
Once the signal is fully operational, Rager says it will be monitored to determine whether it’s functioning most effectively.
“Normally we monitor all new installations and make tweaks as needed to optimize signal operations particularly for peak volume and turning times,” Rager said. “In locations with very high seasonal or weekend volumes these adjustments can take a little longer. Ultimately our goal is to make sure the signal provides the appropriate intersection control without unduly impeding traffic flow, so it’s possible you might see different phases for this intersection at different times of year.”
Though the high volume of summer traffic in the resort area has prompted some area residents to suggest the need for a traffic signal further south on Route 611, at its intersection with Assateague Road, no improvements are expected there.
“SHA currently has no plans to install a signal at 611 and Assateague Road,” Rager said. “We’ll continue to monitor the intersection.”