Officials Will Cut Ribbon for New Median Fencing; Median Fencing Part of Extensive Shore Improvements: Faster, Safer, Better
(June 12, 2018) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration’s (MDOT SHA) Administrator Gregory Slater joined Ocean City Maryland Mayor Richard Meehan, Ocean City Police Chief Ross C. Buzzuro and the Ocean City Greater Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melanie Pursel to kick off the 2018 Walk Smart pedestrian safety campaign today in Ocean City, Maryland. The officials joined Cheswick, the Ocean City Lifeguard Crab to cut ribbon on the new median fence.
To enhance pedestrian safety along MD 528 (Coastal Highway), MDOT SHA recently completed a 2.7-mile, $8.4 million project which includes new pedestrian median fencing between MD 90 (Ocean City Expressway) and Convention Center Drive. Crews also resurfaced Coastal Highway between 62nd Street and 26th Street. The median fence joins other infrastructure and engineering improvements including new signals, signal timing adjustments, new signage and sidewalk upgrades completed over the last five years as part of a comprehensive pedestrian safety improvement project.
“Ocean City roadways are heavily traveled over the summer months,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater. “Whether you’re a pedestrian, cyclist, driver or passenger – resident or visitor – we want you to be safe on the roadways. That’s why we’re excited to continue our partnership with the Town of Ocean City to enhance infrastructure and continue our Walk Smart campaign to remind everyone that there is no vacation from the basic rules of the road.”
Pedestrian accidents and fatalities are on the rise. In 2017, there were two fatalities on Ocean City roadways; that is a 50% increase to the number of fatalities in 2016. There were no pedestrian fatalities between 2013-2015 and the goal of the campaign for 2018 and beyond is to reach zero fatalities.
“We want everyone who comes to visit our beautiful city to make it home safely,” says Ocean City Mayor Meehan. “Thank you MDOT SHA for making our roadways safer for all residents and travelers.”
OCPD Chief Ross C. Buzzuro echoed this sentiment and says that extra effort is made to educate teens and young adults who visit the city because “one of the toughest things I have to do as an officer is tell a parent that their child has been injured in a traffic incident.” Chief Buzzuro said, “The median fencing is a welcome positive guide that directs pedestrians to crosswalks – the safest place for people to cross eight lanes of Coastal Highway. Pedestrian safety is still a two-way street and we will continue to enforce traffic laws for drivers, as well as pedestrians.”
Melanie Pursel, Executive Director of the Greater Ocean City Chamber of Commerce, thanked MDOT SHA for their continued support and outreach to the ever-growing international student workforce that calls the city home each summer. Executive Director Melanie Pursel said, “Biking and walking are the main modes of transportation for international students. We’re so pleased to be a partner in providing and installing bike lights on the bicycles of seasonal employees.” Additionally, bike lights were provided to the Ocean City Police Department to distribute and install at traffic stops involving bicycles at night.
The award-winning Ocean City Walk Smart! Campaign continues in its fifth year, with special emphasis on nighttime safety, bicycle safety as well as basic pedestrian and driver safety. Cheswick the Crab makes appearances 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!
Completion of the median fence is one of several projects designed to make travel to and on the Shore faster, safer and better. Major projects are underway or recently completed from Annapolis to Ocean City, valued at nearly $328 million. This is one of MDOT SHA’s largest construction seasons in history with 506 active or advertised projects totaling approximately $3.7 billion.
For a complete listing of major roadway projects in Maryland, click on Road Ready, an online construction brochure. Maryland drivers can also know before they go by calling 511 or visiting www.md511.org for live traffic updates. For more information on OC Walk Smart!, visit www.ocwalksmart.com.
Editor’s note: MDOT SHA has a record amount of highway construction projects underway across the state to reduce congestion and improve safety. From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders. MDOT SHA maintains more than 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland.