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SHA finishes project to alleviate Defense Highway flooding

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has completed a $ 1 million drainage and maintenance project for the MD 450 Defense Highway in Anne Arundel County. These improvements protect pavement integrity and control water flow along the route between the communities of Gambrills and Davidsonville.

“We worked very closely with community members to bring this important project to life that will reduce the impact and duration of road closures after rainfall,” said Tim Smith, MDOT SHA administrator. “We have already seen big improvements, as demonstrated when the water receded and MD 450 reopened the same day we saw Tropical Storm Isaias.”

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The crews of MDOT SHA’s contractor, AJ Romano Construction Inc. of Laurel, responded to deteriorating structural conditions in the watershed by replacing culverts and removing sediments. Additional landscaping was installed to further stabilize the river canal.

In 1954 the MD 450 was built on a creek bed in the Bell Branch / North River Stream Valley. The watershed flows into the South River and is approximately 21 square miles long. Over the years, the area’s growth decreased the number of trees and increased the number of waterproof surfaces, resulting in increased rainwater runoff in the watershed. Because of its location in this marshy area, the section of MD 450 between Rutland Road and Huntwood Drive was prone to tidal and non-tidal flooding even on sunny days.

“The MD 450 project improves rainwater management and will result in more reliable access for local residents and commuters,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “We are excited to complete this restoration with the help and support of our partners in the community and the district government.”

The MDOT SHA crews will resume routine maintenance after this project is completed. Drivers should note that despite these improvements, severe weather events can still lead to stagnant water. Flood area and travel advice are available.

The MD 450 project is another example of MDOT SHA’s work during the COVID-19 emergency in Maryland. Crews and contractors continued to work, following state and federal health and safety guidelines.

MDOT SHA is committed to safe traffic mobility in work areas for our crews and our customers. Drivers need to remain vigilant, focus on driving, and look for reduced speed limits as well as other changes in driving pattern. A list of all major MDOT SHA projects can be found at roads.maryland.gov. Visit md511.maryland.gov for real-time information on traffic conditions.

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