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The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) currently has a record number of active highway construction projects running to reduce congestion and improve safety on the state’s roads. And the department’s annual road maintenance schedule has taken a completely new form this year, making updates easier to access for drivers.
The state recently launched Maryland e-Road Ready Projects, an interactive online map, earlier this month and has announced plans to update the map at least once weekly.
“The whole thing is a living document,” Charlie Gischlar, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Highway Administration, told GCN.
The map not only shows upcoming construction work, it also reveals greater detail about each project. These details include when the project will start and end, what work is being done, and how a particular project will impact traffic. In addition, drivers will be able to refine information and search for a particular area or address.
The app has a few things in common with Maryland 511, but Gischlar said the two are still fundamentally different. While Maryland 511 provides real-time traffic updates, e-Road Ready is designed for long-term use and provides information about upcoming projects.
And considering the number of potholes and other blemishes on Maryland roads, the app and all of the projects it details are sorely needed. Even though epoxy and concrete can last up to 10 years depending on exposure to traffic, large-scale repairs are time-consuming and costly.
Heavy traffic combined with harsh weather, water, and ice damage has taken a big toll on the state’s roads. Now, even traffic marking paint, which had a global value of $454 million in 2014, must be replaced in the repairs. And the roads aren’t the only surfaces getting damaged.
“Every time you hit a pothole, it knocks out your alignment, damages your suspension, knocks out your tires and rims, and it’s very costly,” says Hampden Tires mechanic Steven Byrd.
Maryland officials are encouraging drivers to report any potholes they see directly to the state highway administration online.