BERLIN – Officials resumed talk of aligning Decatur Street and Flower Street this week.
Following road work by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) at the intersection of Route 113 and Assateague Road, Berlin officials said they still had concerns about safety in the area. Councilman Dean Burrell said the concept explored several years ago of aligning Decatur Street and Flower Street would improve conditions in the busy area.
“I really do think it should be a priority,” he said.
During Monday’s council meeting, Burrell shared his concerns about safety near the Route 113 intersection. He said the main issue he saw was that when cars exited Decatur Street they often had to wait, holding up traffic, to turn left onto Flower Street.
“It’s backed up waiting for people to turn and for the light,” he said. “That means the car that’s turning onto Flower Street is blocking cars. It’s a mess. It’s gridlock.”
He reminded his peers that at one time, the town had plans to align Decatur Street with Flower Street.
“We should probably move that up the project list,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said.
Burrell agreed and said that along with the gridlock, the situation was complicated because so many of the vehicles heading toward Assateague were towing boats and trailers.
Tyndall asked if Burrell thought the issue was caused by SHA’s changes to the intersection or the fact that Decatur and Flower weren’t aligned.
“It’s a combination,” Burrell said. “A big factor is the alignment because instead of cars having to go a few feet to turn onto Flower Street then they’d be going straight across. I really do think that’s something we should take a look at.”
Public Works Director Jimmy Charles said he would reach out to SHA regarding a sign that could be added to Assateague Road advising motorists not to block the Flower Street intersection.
“That should let traffic turn safely,” he said.
Planning Director Dave Engelhart told the council that several years ago the town had a preliminary design done for the road alignment. While it wasn’t formally approved, he said transportation officials had seen it.
“They gave us tacit approval and said this should work,” he said. “The concept was there.”
He added that prices on the work would only have increased in the years since.
“Be ready for some sticker shock,” he said.
While the council was scheduled to have a work session with SHA on Wednesday – primarily to review a plan to pave Main Street but also to share other concerns – the meeting was canceled due to heat.