For years, the intersection of Falls and River roads has presented a frustration and safety hazard for drivers.
The section of Falls Road, known as Dunham’s jog, shifts abruptly to the right as southbound drivers on Falls Road approach the intersection. For those unfamiliar with the intersection, it can create difficulties when a through lane suddenly becomes a turning lane.
“The Falls Road situation should be finished this year,” said Del. Jean Cryor (R-15). Cryor and former Sen. Jean Roesser had worked on launching the project.
The repair was complicated because the owner of Cherner property would not sell land to the state to allow them to straighten the road, said Cryor. She also explained that it would not be financially possible for the state to acquire the land under imminent domain.
So the State Highway Administration (SHA) started looking in the other direction.
Cryor met with officials from the SHA and Elie Pisarra-Cain who own the property on the other side of Falls Road by Mitch and Bill’s Exxon.
Pisarra-Cain said the state already owns enough right of way on that side of the road, so it will not have to acquire any of her land. “The only thing I’m fighting for is to keep some green space,” she said.
Nothing will happen on the Cherner side of the road, said Cryor. The SHA will remove the median strip on Falls Road and add a left turn lane. “You’ll actually have Falls Road more accessible to traffic,” Cryor said.
The sidewalk in front of Mitch and Bill’s will be shifted and narrowed, and the two large trees will need to be removed. However, Pisarra-Cain said she has received assurances that a hedge will be installed in order to act as a buffer between the road and the gas station. “The state people have really become partners now instead of being adversaries,” Pisarra-Cain said.
Cryor said that bids for the project will be let this week, and that the SHA hopes construction will begin in the fall and finish by the end of this year.