State begins construction of east-west expressway

September 22, 1992|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Construction of a new east-west expressway, which state officials say will ease congestion around Baltimore-Washington International Airport, begins this month.

Williams Construction Co. of Baltimore will be paid $29.5 million to extend Route 100 three miles between Interstate 95 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, State Highway Administration officials said. The highway will eventually connect Elkridge and Gibson Island.

SHA will ask builders to bid for the right to construct the remaining stretch between I-95 and I-97/Route 3 next month, said spokesman Dan Collins. Route 100 now reaches from there to Gibson Island.

Highway officials are hoping the extension will improve the flow of traffic through West County, particularly along Dorsey Road near BWI.

"The area has grown considerably, due to the many business parks and centers located there," said Douglas Rose, SHA's district engineer.

SHA officials first had to overcome legal and environmental objections to the expressway this summer. They averted a lengthy jury trial in June when they agreed to pay the owner of a Hanover office park $8.8 million for the disruption caused by construction.

Officials then won a permit Aug. 21 from the Army Corps of Engineers to destroy 26 acres of non-tidal wetlands along

Sawmill Creek, Stony Run and Deep Run. The corps held up the permit until state officials drafted a plan to repair environmental damage.

Charles Adams, a supervisor with the SHA environmental design division, said the state would create about 40 acres of new

wetlands along the three streams and reconstruct several eroded stream banks.

Wetlands are valued because they filter pollutants before rain carries them to the Chesapeake Bay. They also absorb flood waters and shelter wildlife.

Construction of the first segment will eradicate 17 wetlands totaling 13.8 acres along Deep Run, west of the parkway. Another 5 acres will be destroyed along Sawmill Creek, one of four streams in a state Targeted Watershed Program, as construction continues east.

Mr. Rose said efforts will be made to protect other wetlands.

"We will use new supersilt fencing, a sturdier chain-link fence with cemented posts, designed to withstand the collection of sediment that can be harmful to wetlands," he said.

Traffic will be restricted to one lane along Route 1, Dorsey Road and Route 100 during non-rush hours.

The project is expected to cost more than $100 million.

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