Redesign of Route 32 explained

March 23, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

Build it, and they will come.

More than 75 residents of River Hill and Clarksville gathered at Pointers Run Elementary School on Monday night to hear state highway officials explain the new four-lane section of Route 32 they're constructing.

"It's a very complex project," Doug Rose, State Highway Administration district engineer, told the residents and the River Hill village board, which sponsored the informational meeting.

Highway planners presented an overview of progress on the $28.5 million construction project, which was started in November, and target completion dates for bridges and interchanges.

Build it, and expect commuters to the Washington and Baltimore areas to come in droves, which officials estimate will reduce traffic on the existing two-lane stretch of Route 32 -- also known as Guilford Road -- from nearly 20,000 vehicles per day to about 4,000 per day.

River Hill Village Manager Sunny McGuinn, who served on the Kings Contrivance village board in the 1980s during the Route 32 expansion there, said she wants to ensure that River Hill residents are informed about traffic changes.

"As the project progressed [in Kings Contrivance], there were a lot of detours," she said.

Mr. Rose said there will be many detours while construction continues in the River Hill area, pledging that the highway agency will produce maps to help guide motorists around the construction.

Residents had a host of questions about intersections and interchanges, traffic lights and signs, turn lanes, pedestrian access routes, noise and sight barriers and storm water management along the entire 4.4-mile stretch of road.

Hefty investments have been made in property in River Hill, one of Columbia's toniest addresses. For instance, Jeff and Sandy Hartz, who now live in Oakland Mills village, have a deposit on a River Hill lot that will be 200 feet from the new highway and wanted to learn more about screening.

"We have to make a decision whether to build there by Saturday," Sandy Hartz said. "Our questions weren't really answered."

Others, such as Clarksville resident Don Auld, 74, have lived in the area for a long time and have concerns about growth. Mr. Auld asked why engineers planned an interchange at Route 108 that will require two traffic lights rather than a "cloverleaf" -- four looping ramps -- that would not have required signals.

"You can imagine what the traffic will be like in the morning and evening there. It's going to be a mess," he said.

Mr. Rose said that existing buildings were obstacles to constructing a larger interchange that would require more land.

Relocated Route 32, which will extend from Route 108 in Clarksville to one-half mile east of the Middle Patuxent River in Simpsonville, is expected to be completed by late 1995 or early 1996.

The project aims to relieve congestion on narrow and winding Guilford Road and serve the developing River Hill community, Columbia's 10th and final village, and commuters from as far away as Carroll and Frederick counties.

Highway officials say a dual bridge on the relocated Route 32 over the Cedar Lane-Pindell School Road intersection will be completed by October. A new Cedar Lane bridge over the Middle Patuxent River is expected to be done by February 1995 and the rehabilitation of a Cedar Lane bridge over the river by June 1995.

An interchange bridge at Great Star Drive -- a road that will be built by the Rouse Co. to provide access to River Hill -- should be completed in June 1995, said Robert Fisher, assistant district engineer for the highway administration. Trotter Road, which is in the path of the relocated Route 32, will be cut off just north and south of the new highway about the same time, he said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.