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SHA: No Plans To Change Great Seneca Speed Limit

Three fatal crashes—two involving Rockville residents—have occurred on the road in 2012.

SHA: No Plans To Change Great Seneca Speed Limit


The Maryland State Highway Administration has no plans to reconsider the 50 mph speed limit on Great Seneca Highway following the road's third fatal crash of 2012, SHA spokesman David Buck told Patch.

A 69-year-old Gaithersburg woman was killed Sunday evening in a car crash on Great Seneca Highway (MD 119) at Lakelands Drive in the Kentlands area of Gaithersburg.

A 21-year-old woman from Rockville was driving one of the cars involved in the crash. It was the second time in six weeks that a Rockville resident was involved in crash along the road.

Less than two weeks earlier, a 24-year-old Germantown man was killed after a collision at the intersection of Great Seneca Highway and Longdraft Road.

In August, a Rockville man was killed after being thrown from his motorcycle on Great Seneca near High Gables Drive.

A non-fatal collision involving a pedestrian occurred in February at Great Seneca and Kentlands Boulevard.

The SHA will review the operations at the intersections in the two most recent crashes after final reports are submitted by police, Buck said. Police said the victims turned directly in front of motorists in both recent crashes.

"It is important to note more than 93 percent of all crashes in Maryland are attributed to driver error," Buck told Patch. "SHA certainly plays a major role in keeping roads safe through engineering and education, but motorists need to do their part every day by driving defensively and giving full attention to their driving responsibilities."

Learn how the State Highway Administration sets speed limits in Maryland

Concerns about the speed limit in the area should be directed to the Montgomery County Police Department, Buck said.

However, following a study of the Great Seneca and Kenlands Boulevard/Orchard Ridge Drive intersection, the SHA does plan to install a "Turning Traffic Yield to Pedestrians" sign on the overhead traffic signal wire and re-time the pedestrian crossing time, Buck said.

The study did not indicate a need during peak hour traffic volumes for exclusive or exclusive/permissive left-turn phasing for the side street, according to a June letter from the SHA to Del. Luiz Simmons.

"A review of the crash data from the most recently available three-year period did not reveal a pattern of crashes correctable by implementation of the left-turn phase for the side streets," the letter reads.

The SHA is also is developing concepts to extend the left-turn lane on westbound Orchard Ridge Drive, Buck said, but the project is not currently funded for design or construction.

A "serious" collision is one in which MCPD's Collision Reconstruction Unit responds to investigate the scene, said Officer Janelle Smith, a county police spokeswoman.

Acknowledging the number of crashes on Great Seneca, Gaithersburg Police Department spokesman Dan Lane said police presence and enforcement on the road is a priority.

"The Gaithersburg Police is concerned wherever we have injury-related collisions, especially fatal collisions, and have been conducting routine enforcement of speeding and aggressive driving along this corridor," Lane said. 

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