By Matt Perez
For The Diamondback
The Richard Custom Tailor storefront has been demolished as part of the Maryland State Highway Administration's Route 1 reconstruction project.
Custom Tailor, located on 8608 Baltimore Ave., was acquired by SHA as a right-of-way acquisition, a process in which the state of Maryland purchases private properties needed for new development projects. The property will be kept vacant as the Route 1 project continues, said Shanteé Felix, a SHA spokeswoman.
Reconstruction on this segment of the project is expected to begin in 2018, said Terry Schum, College Park's planning director.
The Maryland segment of Route 1 acts as a roadway for commuters and commerce. In 2015, Gov. Larry Hogan's administration announced $30 million in funding toward the Route 1 project as part of his administration's $1.97 billion transportation fund.
The project, which is expected to complete by 2022, aims to "improve the roadway's ability to safely manage current and predicted traffic volumes at a more appropriate level of service," according to SHA's website.
"Statewide, [SHA is] constantly looking to enhance safety for highway users," Felix said. "The US 1 project in College Park further demonstrates that commitment, and we are looking forward to making those improvements for the citizens in College Park."
During the construction phase of the project, crews will widen the roadway to provide inside travel lanes, outer turn lanes and a bicycle-compatible shoulder in each direction, Felix said. The roadway's drainage and landscaping will also improve.
Michael Hughes, 59, who is an Adelphi resident of 25 years, said there are clear signs of the road's deteriorating condition.
"I'm looking right here at the holes in the ground, and [these holes mess] up the suspensions on your car," Hughes said. "It needs some work."
While SHA oversees the Route 1 project, College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn said there are also other local roadway reconstruction projects throughout the city.
"We're doing a lot of work on the city streets, the neighborhood streets, that are controlled by the city," Wojahn said. "Another project that [the city] is working on is getting funds for a side path along Campus Drive, between Route 1 and the trolley trail."
Wilfred George, a College Park District 1 resident of 25 years, said he supports efforts to improve the city, such as the Route 1 project and other local developments underway.
"The one thing about America, we're always trying to update and upgrade," George said. "We're just trying to upgrade our system, everything we have, the houses and roads and everything. That's what makes America so great."