Broening Highway lane closures still causing gridlock
Wednesday, 02 October 2013 11:55

Motorist says construction is at a standstill

by Ben Boehl

Motorists along Broening Highway have dealt with lane closures for almost a year. photo by Ben Boehl


    Jim Kopicki drives from his Dundalk home on Sollers Point Road to downtown Baltimore every day.
    For the past year, his biggest complaint about the trip has been the construction on Broening Highway, which Kopicki has described as a “mess.” 
    Broening Highway is part of Baltimore City’s $44 million Southeast Road Reconstruction Program of roadway resurfacing and pedestrian ramp improvements, utility and drainage upgrades, new streetlights and updated  traffic signals with pedestrian countdowns.      
  

In addition to Broening Highway, Dundalk Avenue and Boston Street are also undergoing work as part of the Southeast Road Reconstruction project.
    However, Kopicki said that he has not seen any changes to Broening Highway. The road is currently at one way for each lane of traffic.
    Kopicki explained  that the lane closures lead to a heavy backup during rush hour, and he said the road has not seen any work in the past few months.
    “At first, I thought they were only working at night, but there has been no activity by the Colgate Creek Bridge to the Keith Avenue underpass,” he said.
    On Monday, construction crews were seen working on Broening Highway near the Holabird Avenue intersection, but there was no visable activity from the Colgate Creek Bridge to Keith Avenue.
    In October 2012, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a press conference to kick off the project and said the improvements were intended to provide a quality road from Interstate 95 to the Port of Baltimore.
    Kopicki said he wanted to know if the Broening Highway work is a federally-funded project, since it involves the Port of Baltimore.
    “If it was supposed to be federally-funded, has the project stopped because of the sequester?” Kopicki asked.
    Kathy Chopper, spokesperson for the Baltimore City’s Department of Transportation, stated that all the projects, including the Broening Highway project, follow a typical formula of 80 percent federal funding with a 20 percent local match.   
    However, she said, the delay was because of the Baltimore City Department of Works (DPW) and not the federal government.
    “Construction activity has been briefly delayed on the Broening Highway project because some minor reconfigurations of the conduit system had to made,” Chopper wrote in  a statement.
    “Work should begin again next week. The lane closure along Broening Highway is for DPW work.”
    Graceland Park Improvement Association president Celestine “Babe” Grabowski lives near Dundalk Avenue and said that crews have been working hard on that project. Crews could be seen working on the right lane of eastbound Dundalk Avenue on Monday.
    “We just had an update (from the city) and everything is still the same,” Grabowski said. “They are slightly ahead of schedule.”