BERLIN – While a new signal has improved traffic safety at one Berlin intersection, there’s a chance changes could be coming to another problem spot.
With a new light at the intersection of Route 113 and South Main Street now operational, Sen. Mary Beth Carozza this week said Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) officials had recently conducted a traffic study at the Route 50/Route 818 intersection and are now reviewing its findings.
“I am grateful for the responsiveness of our local SHA officials to this priority local highway safety issue,” Carozza said.
In December, Town of Berlin elected officials met with Carozza, Del. Wayne Hartman and Del. Charles Otto to discuss priorities for the coming year. One of the items mentioned was traffic safety at the intersection of Route 818 and Route 50.
“At the time, I explained to Berlin officials that we will take the safety concerns at this intersection directly to the State Highway Administration and request that SHA conduct a traffic study/signal warrant analysis on this Berlin intersection,” Carozza said.
The results of that study are in and SHA is conducting “an internal review of the findings,” according to Carozza. She said SHA advised her that the intersection was unique because installation of a traffic signal was only one small part of the equation. SHA officials told her the ramp from Route 113 to Route 50 westbound and the physical alignment of the roadway made the scope of the project more complex than a typical traffic light installation.
She said SHA was considering several design alternatives that would meet SHA requirements and take into account the operational integrity of the road and the safety of motorists.
Crews from SHA were in Berlin last month to install the new traffic signal where South Main Street meets Route 113. Officials were vocal about their desire for improvements at the intersection after a fatal accident there in 2020 claimed the life of a local man. Berlin Police Chief Arnold Downing said that during his time in Berlin, five people have died at that intersection. While he’s thrilled to finally see a signal there, he said drivers were still getting used to it. Several motorists have failed to stop when they should have. Downing said in some cases, the motorists have been traveling this route for years and are simply not accustomed to stopping. Those running the red light are not just on Route 113, however.
“We’re having more people going through on 818 than you think about,” he said.
Downing said his officers have increased enforcement in the area and he’s hopeful that with time drivers will become educated about the new signal. He considers it a valuable improvement to the intersection, which has seen more than its share of accidents.
“Every single accident we have there is a serious accident, we never have a minor accident at that intersection,” Downing said.