More on the Md. 75 problem

by Virgil Soule. 0 Comments

The problem with trucks and the rail overpass on Md. 75 at New Market just doesn’t want to go away. Judging from comments here and there, most people don’t understand what’s happening.

Just out of curiosity, I drove east to Mount Airy to see if in fact the rail line that crosses over Md. 75 is still in use. I had a brainstorm that maybe, if the line is no longer used, the overpass at Md. 75 could be removed. Turns out that the rails are shiny and show signs of regular use all the way out to Mount Airy and points east. So, obviously the overpass is still needed.

I also did some exploring to see how you get to the Costco warehouse. The only way in is from Baldwin Rd at the top end of the Intercoastal Industrial Center. Surely the truckers are aware that you can’t get to Costco from Md. 75.

Has anyone asked the truckers why they want to use Md. 75? Trucks making local deliveries (moving vans, for instance) have a legitimate need to use it and they should be accommodated. Truckers intending to use Md. 75 and Md. 80 as a more-direct route to Urbana or I-270 might also have a legitimate need.

Granted MD75 is narrow and really not well suited for big-truck traffic but it’s a State Highway and as such should be available to all users. I’ve encountered farmers running large tractors and self-propelled harvesters on Md. 75. If they can use it, truckers ought to be free to use it as well.

It’s interesting that short trucks can squeeze under the overpass. It’s the longer tractor-trailer rigs that get caught in the middle. The Federal DOT height limit is 13 ft., 6 in., which is the limit imposed by the overpass. Weigh stations have truck height monitors that flag too-tall loads. Most box trailers are under the height limit but flatbeds occasionally get caught.

It would be such a simple matter to shave down the roadway surface on either side of the overpass by maybe three inches so it’s flat and doesn’t undulate up and down. Irregularities in the roadway are the thing causing problems for the truckers. That wouldn’t undercut the foundations of the rail overpass. For some reason, the engineers at SHA apparently haven’t worked the problem and don’t understand what’s happening.

Driving an eighteen-wheel tractor-trailer is not easy and I don’t think it’s fair to blame the truckers. People at SHA are ignoring a real problem and are trying to pass the buck to someone else. It really is a small problem to solve.

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