SHA: No Plans To Change Great Seneca Speed Limit

Four serious accidents, including three fatals, have occurred along Great Seneca Highway in 2012.

The Maryland State Highway Administration has no plans to reconsider the 50 mph speed limit on Great Seneca Highway (Route 119) following the road's third fatal accident of 2012, SHA spokesperson David Buck told Patch.

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

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.

The SHA will review the operations at those intersections after the final fatal crash report is 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 Montgomery County Police, 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.

September's fatal accidents brought the number of serious accidents on the road in 2012 to four, Montgomery County Police spokeswoman Janelle Smith said.

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.

Smith defined a "serious" accident as one in which MCPD's Collision Reconstruction Unit responds to investigate the scene.

Acknowledging the number of accidents on Great Seneca, Gaithersburg Police Department spokesperson 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. 

Thomas October 01, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Another section of Great Seneca Hwy which is dangerous is between Clopper Road and Dawson Farm Rd. I live in the Fountain Hills Development and hear motorcyles starting in either direction revving their motors and speeding down Great Seneca. By the time they hit Mateny Dr which is half way between Clopper and Dawson Farm they have to be going at least 70-80 mph. I am waiting for a serious accident to happen there as well. Its just a matter of time. I think police should set up speed traps along the whole stretch of GSH. What I find amusing is, there are 55 MPH speed signs posted with 'Speed Strickly Enforced'. How often do you see cops on GSH.
Joe Thomas October 01, 2012 at 03:35 PM
The police academy is on Great Seneca Hgwy so there are police in and out of there all day long.
thomas deckard October 01, 2012 at 06:09 PM
but you do not see them setting up speed traps or radar. NO..another idea is to place speed cameras along certain sections of GSH...
Tony Sinnott December 26, 2012 at 06:08 PM
What bothers me is the lack of street lighting maintenance on major roads like Great Seneca or 270 that at times has no lights operational for mile long stretches. Is this due to budget cutbacks, laziness or incompetence? The one road in MOCO that is totally well lit is the Montrose bypass. With pedestrian fatalities the way they are here, we need the lights to be working.
joe cav February 24, 2013 at 04:14 PM
What's more? on any decent evening, kids are RACING on GSH at speeds exceeding 100 mph. They turn into Orchard Valley Community then head towards Mateny Road. The coppers have an academy. Maybe they are out there training?


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