Traffic relief set for summer Stretch of Route 100, new lanes on Route 2 are possible by July

'Perfect' weather is key

Renovation of I-97 also may be ready by end of year, SHA says

April 05, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Motorists in Anne Arundel County can expect some relief this summer when one long-awaited route is opened and another is widened.

If the weather is right, Route 100 between Interstates 95 and 97 will open in July, State Highway Administration officials said.

Also, a third lane on both sides of Ritchie Highway (Route 2) in Severna Park and Arnold could be added as soon as the July 4th holiday weekend.

And if all goes well, renovations to I-97 could be finished by the end of this year.

But in order for all developments to take place on schedule, the weather has to be just "perfect," said John Healy, a SHA spokesman.

"We need dry weather and it has to be 50 degrees or more," Mr. Healy said. "Right now, it's so touch-and-go with the weather."

If everything and everybody cooperates, county drivers can look forward to the opening of the extension of Route 100, the east-west road built in the 1970s that started at Gibson Island and ended at Route 3, and later I-97.

The construction blitz to finish the 7.5- mile piece from I-97 to I-95 lagged during the 1980s, and after work on the project picked up again at the end of the decade, the State Highway Administration ran out of construction money.

When the project was resurrected in 1992, opposition from some Howard County neighborhoods postponed completion.

All that remains on the $75 million project is final grading, paving and striping of the highway, Mr. Healy said.

Mr. Healy said the opening of Route 100 is critical for commuters between Anne Arundel and Howard counties.

"It's a major east-west route," he said. "We want to expedite the journey for commuters."

Motorists on Ritchie Highway may be able to enjoy the additional lane on the southbound and northbound sides in July.

A third lane will be added to the 1.7-mile stretch between Cypress Creek Road and Whites Road. Another lane is expected to open for 1.3 miles near College Parkway, Mr. Healy said.

The entire project will cost about $4 million.

But there are no plans to widen the rest of Ritchie Highway, Mr. Healy said.

"There are some projects on the book to widen the whole thing, but the volume is such that it's not needed," he said. "It's not a priority-type project."

Mr. Healy also said all lanes on I-97 could be opened by the end of the year for the 75,300 motorists who use it daily.

The $63 million project to add a northbound lane from Route 648 to the Baltimore Beltway began in spring 1993.

A fourth project set to begin this year is construction of a five-lane bridge on Route 175 crossing Amtrak railroad tracks in Odenton, Mr. Healy said.

The four-lane bridge with a center left-turn lane could be completed by next year, he said.

Pub Date: 4/05/96

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