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New Shared-Use Path Provides Critical Link to Downtown Ocean City; Partners Kick Off Walk Smart; Drive Smart; Bike Smart Campaign
(June 25, 2019) – With a unique combination of concrete, asphalt, and a boardwalk, by the end of this year residents, workers and tourists will have a continuous pedestrian/bike path from downtown Ocean City to MD 611 (Stephen Decatur Highway) in West Ocean City, Worcester County. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway (MDOT SHA) announced the construction start of this path today as part of the kickoff to the 2019 Walk Smart pedestrian safety campaign.
MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater, along with District Engineer Jay Meredith, joined Ocean City Mayor Richard Meehan and Maryland State Police Lt. Earl W. Starner in West Ocean City to talk about the importance of the shared path and stress their commitment to traveler safety.
“One of the best ways to enjoy Ocean City is by foot and bicycle, and this project will enable pedestrians and bicyclists to travel safely between the downtown and West Ocean City areas,” MDOT SHA Administrator Slater said. “We want to use every tool in our toolbox to make travel safe for all roadway users.”
MDOT SHA will build the multi-material, shared-use path from the US 50 (Ocean Gateway) Bridge over Sinepuxent Bay (Harry W. Kelley Memorial Bridge) to MD 611, approximately three-quarters of a mile. Work includes construction of a 10-foot wide, ADA-compliant path along US 50, new crosswalks throughout the corridor, new audible/countdown pedestrian signals and stormwater management facilities. To facilitate stormwater management, MDOT SHA will construct parts of the path using special “pervious” mixes of concrete and asphalt. These materials allow water to pass through to the ground below, minimizing runoff and reducing the amount of land needed for stormwater controls such as swales.
Construction is expected to be complete by the fall. Motorists should be alert for occasional shoulder closures and off-peak lane closures. Overnight turn-lane closures may be necessary to place a stormwater pipe at the eastbound US 50/Golf Course Road intersection. On average, nearly 33,000 vehicles travel this section of US 50 each day and volumes can be significantly higher during the busy summer tourist season. MDOT SHA awarded a $1.8 million construction contract to David A. Bramble of Chestertown.
“With the recent growth in West Ocean City, this path will make it easier for our seasonal visitors, residents and workers to travel to and from work,” Ocean City Mayor Meehan said. “We thank MDOT SHA for partnering with us in traffic safety.”
“As we prepare for the influx of visitors for the July 4th holiday, we recognize the importance of people following the rules of the road when walking, biking and driving, so that Ocean City residents and guests can enjoy their vacations and return home safely,” said Maryland State Police Lt. Earl Starner.
The Walk Smart campaign includes appearances from Cheswick the Crab throughout the summer, public service announcements, plane banners, boardwalks trams, digital boat boards will share the message throughout the summer. Special thanks to Ocean City business partners helping to
share the message! This year’s campaign includes additional focus on bicycle education, including the installation of bike lights, and outreach to international, seasonal students who are employed throughout the resort.
As construction begins on the new path, partners also emphasize traffic safety with the the award-winning Ocean City Walk Smart Campaign, which emphasizes nighttime safety, bicycle safety as well as basic pedestrian and driver safety. Extra effort is made to educate international students, teens and young adults.
“With the continued education, bike light program, and the median fence project joining forces to promote the Walk Smart message, the West Ocean City Shared Use Path will be another tool in the toolbox to ensure the safety of our citizens and visitors traveling in and out of town,” Ocean City Police Chief Ross Buzzuro said.
MDOT SHA works hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones for our crews as well as our contractor. Drivers need to stay alert, focus on the road and look for reduced speed limits, narrow driving lanes and highway workers. Drive like you work here and slowdown in construction zones.