Key Highway/Light Street Reconstruction Behind Schedule

| September 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

Baltimore City Department of Transportation’s (DOT) reconstruction of the Key Hwy. and Light St. intersection is running behind schedule, according to District 11 Councilman Eric Costello.

From Councilman Costello on September 19th:

Update on Key Highway / Light St Intersection project from DOT:

The project was expected to be completed by end-November 2019, however it is considerably behind schedule. As a result, the contractor (M Luis Construction) is going to be maximizing work on nights and weekends. Night and weekend work is permitted per the original contract and the City would be in breach and could be held liable if it tried to prevent this. That said, both DOT and I have communicated to the contractor the need for heavy / loud work to be completed each evening prior to 11pm. This work will likely continue on nights / weekends as long as the weather continue to cooperate. At this time, there is no accurate estimated timeframe for completion that I can provide, although we should have a better idea by end-October 2019.

Phase 5 will be starting on September 22, which will include a maintenance of traffic modification for three lanes of travel on Key Highway: AM hours will include two travel lanes westbound to Downtown and one travel lane to Locust Point; nad PM hours will include one travel lane westbound to Downtown and two travel lanes to Locust Point. According to DOT, this travel pattern was performed during prior phases of the project without any issues to traveling public.

Thank you to everyone for your continued patience with this project which I am hopeful will be a marked improvement in terms of safety and navigation for all over the previous conditions.

This project has been under construction since January 2018. The plan went through several iterations since it was first discussed seven years ago.

In 2012, a traffic circle was proposed for the intersection but the project became too large and expensive, and presented concerns regarding pedestrian safety, according to City officials. It was scrapped and the project went in a different direction. “They are able to use the same amount of money to make improvements from Conway all the way to Covington, as opposed to just that one intersection,” former Councilman William Cole told SouthBMore.com in 2013.

Rendering from the previous plan

Project engineers also said at a public meeting in October 2017 that a traffic circle would be a safety concern for blind pedestrians in the area.

The new plan, which was first presented in 2013 and has since undergone some changes, does away with the traffic circle and adds several new medians, green spaces, traffic lights, and curb bump-outs. The current project specifications are listed as:

  • Full Depth Roadway Reconstruction with Complete Rail Track Removal
  • Concrete Roadway Repairs
  • Installation of New Traffic Signals – Key Highway @ Light Street, Key Highway @ William Street; Key Highway @ Covington Street – ACPS/CPS Crosswalk Revision
  • New Signing and Pavement Markings
  • Storm Drain Improvements, Stormwater Management
  • Increase to the Capacity of Existing Conduit System
  • Replacement of Water Line
  • Median Installation along Key Highway from Battery Avenue to Covington Street
  • Removal of Existing Berm between Key Highway and Rash Field (Battery Avenue to Covington Street/Rusty Scupper)
  • Gwynns Falls Trail Extension
  • Landscaping, Sidewalk & ADA Upgrades, Gwynns Falls Trail Extension

Additionally, a southbound lane of Light St. will be eliminated between Lee St. and Key Hwy. with a sidewalk extension. Cars traveling southbound into Federal Hill on Light St. will have a separate lane which will be divided by a new median. There will continue to be a traffic signal at southbound Light St. and Key Hwy. to protect pedestrians. This stretch will also have a new bike lane.

An existing median at Hughes St., Key Hwy., and Light St. will be expanded, eliminating a small stretch of Hughes St. that connects to Light St. This median will include a new walkway.

Curb bump-outs will surround the off-street parking along the south side of Key Hwy. Many new trees will planted along sidewalks and medians.

STV is the designer of the project and Manuel Luis Construction Company, Inc. was rewarded the $6,325,113.50 contract from DOT.

Redevelopment of the adjacent Rash Field is expected to begin in January 2020.

Picture of a project rendering from an STV poster

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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