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Maryland Could Get Road Upgrades to Handle Arundel Mills Casino Traffic

A local transportation firm plans to implement a unique road design to handle additional traffic upon the opening of the Maryland Live Casino at the Arundel Mills Mall this summer.

Casino developer Cordish Cos. has hired White Marsh transportation engineering firm the Traffic Group to analyze and plan what would be Maryland’s first diverging diamond interchange if it receives approval from the state’s highway administration.

The interchange, planned at the intersection of the Baltimore Washington Parkway and Arundel Mills Blvd. should be open in time for the opening of the casino later this year.

This type of interchange can move more vehicles more efficiently, and at a lower cost, Traffic Group President Wes Guckert says. Guckert estimates the cost of the project between $1 million and $2 million.

A diverging diamond interchange works by eliminating competing left turns when coming off a highway.  The interchange allows drivers to make a free left turn as if it were a right turn that creates a diamond-like traffic pattern. The left-turn becomes like a right-turn, which allows more efficiency in movement.

It's the left turn, says Guckert, which often slows down the movement of traffic. Drivers can make twice as many left turns per hour compared to traditional designs with the diverging diamond interchange.

"You create a much safer operating environment for the motoring public, one that is faster and more efficient," Guckert says.

The diverging diamond interchange was first developed and built in France 20 some years ago, but was implemented for the first time in the U.S. in Missouri. Guckert studied the Missouri interchange and decided that it could work in Maryland.

The Traffic Group is now analyzing the possibility of implementing the interchanges at several locations in Maryland.

Writer: Alexandra Wilding
Source: Wes Guckert, the Traffic Group
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