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State highway administration seeks advice from people in Overlea about changes to Belair Road

Posted at 11:12 PM, May 16, 2024

OVERLEA, Md — Heavy traffic and an increase in car accidents have people in Overlea wanting change on Route 1.

In 2023, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration re-ignited plans to improve the road—improvements people have been asking for for decades.

"With the increase in accidents along Belair Road along with concerns about pedestrian safety, it's so critical that people are here and that SHA and the state are hearing what matters to them," says Kaitlin Klimm-Kellner, Linover Improvement Association President.

Carroll Pupa has lived in the Overlea area all his life, and he says he really wants to see this change.

He says he has been advocating for road improvements since the early 2000s, and he says he is hoping this time the plans make it to the construction phase.

"They are finally listening to us; that's what's coming out. Well, I mean, they were good in 2006 the state highway and the county. They learned a lot from the first plan or the first phase in 2006 so I think they are on the right track," says Pupa.

Jeff Davis, the project manager, says the administration would like to turn the four-lane road into a three-lane road from Overton Avenue to Fleetwood Avenue, making the middle lane a turning lane.

"Right now, you have vehicles that are turning left out of the through lane in each direction, and that causes people to swerve and weave around, that leads to a lot of safety issues and crashes that we're trying to address," says Jeff Davis.

The project will also widen the sidewalks.

Since it's still in the design phase, there are still a lot of steps before people in Overlea see any changes.

"This project has lost funding so many times, and we hope that with the issues with transportation funding right now that we don't see that lost again to budget cuts," says Kaitlin Klimm-Kellner.

This project calls for a total of $10 million in funding from the state, which the State Highway Administration hopes to get so they can begin working on the road in 2027.