Two Projects Could Improve Safety On Rt. 15 In Northern Frederick County

A J-Turn will be constructed  to eliminate left hand tuns in some locations.


Emmitsburg, Md (KM) Work is continuing on some road improvements along Route 15 near Mount St. Mary’s University in northern Frederick County. State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar says the contractor is installing J-Turns which eliminate dangerous left hand turns by  motorists entering Route 15 from one of the side roads.

While eliminating the left turns, Gischlar says the J-Turns let drivers “make a right turn. But create a situation where people can go up the street and make a quick U-Turn, and then have an acceleration lane to merge back on to US 15 safely,” he says.

Gischlar says this change will help reduce crashes resulting from left turns on to Route 15. “Ultimately, going to eliminate straight through crossover or left turns to prevent that type of a conflict,” he says. “Those T-Bone crashes are some of the most severe kind of crashes you can get along with head-on collisions. So we’re going to take that out of the equation.”

One of the projects on Route 15 to install J-Turns is along Route 15 from Hansonville Road to Hessong Bridge Road. He says that project, which started last year, “is almost finished, really.  We’re just putting the final touches on it. Everything will be said and done by the end of the year.”

A second project is located along Route 15 between Orndorff Road and College Lane. “US 15 at the west end intersection at St. Anthony Road is closed, that  entrance right there. And traffic is basically being detoured to the southern end where St. Anthony Road comes into it again, opposite of Orndorff Road,” says Gischlar.

But, he says, the other end of St. Anthony Road will eventually be closed. “In August, we’re going to also close that east end of US 15 at Motter Station Road, of course Maryland 76 at St. Anthony’s Road,” says Gischlar.

SHA says that project is expected to be finished by early summer of 2020.

Some motorists may think that J-Turns will add time to their driving trip, but Gischlar says that’s not the case. “It’s going to be more a free right that going to take people to that J-Turn, and it’s going to be really no time difference whatsoever.,” he says. “But the safety aspect is going to be improved greatly and significantly.”

Gischlar says these J-Turns have been used successfully on the Eastern Shore.


By Kevin McManus