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Groundbreaking on Route 5 improvement project

Leonardtown, MD- On Monday, March 12, Governor Larry Hogan [R] joined St. Mary’s County Commissioners and the mayor of Leonardtown, Dan Burris, for the groundbreaking of the Route 5 improvement project in Leonardtown.

The $12 million project will improve travel through the corridor near the Abell Street and Moakley Street intersections by adding a left turn lane. “This will break up the bottleneck and allow drivers to pass through the area is a safer, faster and more efficient manner,” Hogan said. The project will widen Route 5 from Clarks Rest Road to the entrance of St. Mary’s Hospital to add left-turn lanes, as well as include wide shoulders for bicyclists, horse-drawn carriages, and sidewalks for pedestrians.

Also joining Hogan at the announcement was Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary Pete K. Rahn and MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) Administrator Greg Slater. “Our department is committed to improving our roadways, and we are pleased this long-awaited project will benefit the people of Leonardtown and the commuters of Southern Maryland,” said Rahn.

The improvements will cut commute times by 10 minutes for those who travel this section of Route 5 each day.

This is one of the top priorities for St. Mary’s County. “I think it will be great for the hospital,” said County Commissioner Mike Hewitt. “There will be a left turn lane to turn into the hospital and it will avoid back-ups.”

While the construction will include some inconveniences for drivers, Hewitt said be patient. “It’s going to ease congestion considerably.”

The project will begin in the next several weeks with phase one expected to be completed by the end of the summer. The entire project is slated to be completed in fall of 2021.

Hogan noted at the groundbreaking, that state leaders have been focused on improving and rebuilding infrastructure around the state over the past three years.

The roadway improvements in Southern Maryland alone come with a price tag of $1 billion. “Senior leadership is paying attention to the needs of Southern Maryland,” Hogan stated.

Currently, about 26,000 drivers travel through that stretch of Route 5 daily. By the year 2035, it’s estimated that number will jump to 32,000.

While the project will take three years to complete, Hewitt says it will be worth it. “The work and lane shifts will cause some inconveniences but it will be worth the wait.”

Contact Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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