Route 100 link of I-97 to I-95 to open today 7.5-mile stretch to ease Arundel-Howard travel

November 01, 1996|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Route 100 from Interstate 97 in Anne Arundel County to Interstate 95 in Howard County -- deemed by some one of the most important roads in the region for commuters and economic growth -- will open to traffic today, state highway officials said.

The 7.5-mile portion of Route 100 -- which cost nearly $85 million and took six years to complete -- will give Anne Arundel residents better access to jobs and businesses in Howard County. It also will give Howard residents and businesses easier access to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport area, one of the region's major economic growth generators, local officials said.

Planned since the early 1960s, the entire Route 100 project will link BWI and Pasadena with Ellicott City in Howard. The four- and six-lane road -- which is to cost $231 million -- has been delayed repeatedly because of its potential impact on neighborhoods and protected wetlands.

The stretch of the road opening today will mostly benefit the warehousing and distribution businesses along the U.S. 1 corridor, said Neil Shpritz, executive director of the BWI Business Partnership.

The opening will "benefit about half of Howard County," said Richard Story, executive director of the county's Economic Development Authority.

"We're still waiting to connect Ellicott City to the rest of the world. We're optimistic about the future, but north Columbia and Ellicott City will have to wait a little longer," he said.

Howard will not feel the full potential of the road until two remaining links -- from I-95 to Snowden River Parkway in east Columbia and then northwest to U.S. 29 -- are completed by 1999, Story said.

Office and business parks have already sprouted along the Route 100 corridor, and Shpritz predicted there will be more.

"This is what people have waited for for 35 years. This really opens up the whole airport area," he said. "It will be a tremendous boost to the areas for both passenger vehicles and trucking."

Construction began on the 2.5-mile stretch from I-95 to Snowden River Parkway in Columbia last month. Work on the 2.7-mile section from Snowden River Parkway to U.S. 29 should beginin the spring.

The project, costing $52 million for those two links, should be completed by 1999, said Susan O'Brien, spokeswoman for the State Highway Administration.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the I-95-to-I-97 link is scheduled for 1 p.m. today, and the road should be open in time for the evening rush hour, state highway officials said.

Pub Date: 11/01/96

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