The orange barrels are all gone. After almost eight months, the State Highway Administration completed work on the section of Falls Road known as Dunham’s jog. The spot takes its name from Dunham’s, a business which had been where Cherner auto is now.
The project, which started on Oct. 7 after years of work by Del. Jean Cryor (R-15) and then-Sen. Jean Roesser (R-15), was supposed to last 50 days, but was repeatedly extended due to weather-related delays. "The total cost is not going to exceed that [originally budgeted] $390,000," said Chuck Gischlar, spokesperson for the State Highway Administration.
"I think the whole intersection looks a lot better," Cryor said. "It’s worth all the effort it took."
Previously drivers going south on Falls Road as they approached River would suddenly find themselves in a left turn lane. Those unfamiliar with the area would sometimes cut across traffic, or go straight from the turn lane, creating a hazardous condition.
"I definitely know it’s relieving congestion on the Falls Road side," Cryor said.
The State Highway Administration’s solution was to remove what had been a traffic island from the center and to acquire a strip of land in front of Mitch and Bill’s Exxon, allowing them to widen the road.
Now drivers must choose to enter the left turn lane, instead of being forced into it.
"I think they did the best they could do," said Elie Pisarra-Cain. Pisarra-Cain owned the strip of land in front of Mitch & Bill’s.
Pisarra-Cain thinks that there is still work to be done at the intersection. "We still need to remove that jog," she said. Some drivers may have difficulty adjusting to the new pattern.
That new pattern is going to include making the far right lane a right turn only lane, Gischlar said. After the proper signs come in, pavement markings will be added, making it.
At least once on Monday, one driver in the far right of the jog went straight, nearly causing an accident with a car in the next lane which was going straight. "It’s confusing when there’s a big change," Pisarra-Cain said.