What’s that sound, Baltimore drivers? The gentle breath of an early May breeze? The whoosh of a zooming sports car? Unfortunately, it’s the collective sigh of a thousand stranded (yet resigned) local motorists. As you probably know from reading The Sun or by braving the northbound JFX yourself, last night — between 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. — all but a single lane near the northbound 29th Street exit was closed, leading drivers down a detour (Sisson to 29th and back to the JFX), and marking the official start of the two-million-dollar project to replace damaged drain pipes and strengthen the soil that supports the whole shebang. The un-fun continues each night through Monday. But it doesn’t stop there!

To quote The Sun story by Candus Thomson and Kevin Rector: “After this week, transportation authorities will alternate northbound and southbound overnight closures as needed throughout the road reconstruction project to keep traffic flowing.” Um, the opposite of yippee.

In far happier infrastructure storytelling, a bulletin from the State Highway Administration informed us that a new merge lane opens today, Friday, May 4th, along the I-695 W outer loop between York Road (MD 45) and Charles Street (MD 139).

According to a statement from the SHA, “The new lane will improve safety for drivers entering and exiting I-695 between the York Road and Charles Street interchanges…

The new lane is part of the State’s $38 million project to replace the Charles Street Bridge over I-695 and make safety and operational improvements throughout the interchange area.  The project began in winter 2009 and will be complete late summer, weather permitting.”

We’re sighing easier already.