Green light for highway links County connectors: Expansions of Route 32 and 100 will benefit commuters, commerce.

June 26, 1996

TWO MAJOR HIGHWAY projects in Central Maryland are moving forward, which is good news for motorists and for businesses in the region. Plans to widen a nine-mile stretch of Route 32 and the scheduled opening of part of the Route 100 extension will help residents in Howard, Carroll and Anne Arundel counties.

Route 32 is being improved in an area already teeming with new single-family homes. The project would broaden this key artery between Route 108 in Clarksville and Interstate 70 near West Friendship. What is currently a two-lane highway would grow to a four-lane, limited-access road with six interchanges. It would hasten growth in that area of western Howard and cause ripple effects in southern Frederick and Carroll, especially Sykesville and Eldersburg. Completion of the 40-mile Patuxent Freeway is still a few years away, but when finished it will link the Annapolis area with I-70.

Carroll County, stymied economically over the years by its isolation from other areas, has asked the State Highway Administration to extend the widening of Route 32 another 7.5 miles to Route 26 in Eldersburg. Carroll Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown says the additional widening is "absolutely essential" to the county's transportation and economic needs.

It will also be a few years before the Route 100 link is done between Howard and Anne Arundel counties, but an encouraging sign comes next week as SHA officials expect to open a portion between Interstates 95 and 295 and provide access to the MARC station in Dorsey. By fall, the section between I-295 and I-97 should open.

These projects aren't without hardships, particularly to displaced property owners. But their worth to the region's business growth is immense. It's instructive that the most strenuous opposition to a proposal to open a 7-day used car lot in Howard County during the last legislative session didn't come from Howard dealers, but from Anne Arundel businesses. They realize that the completion of Route 100 will create more competition from the west.

But these roads flow in two directions and should prove a boon to businesses, consumers and commuters. As one local transportation planner said, "We can't get too parochial about our roads. These roads are regional."

Pub Date: 6/26/96

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