Jerry Johnston's concerns include one dear to many Howard County residents: avoiding traffic.
So the 33-year-old electrical engineer has a lot riding on Route 100, the construction of which he can see from the back yard of his new house in the Willowood subdivision east of Columbia.
The highway is scheduled to open next summer, at least six months ahead of recent forecasts. It will provide a much-needed straight shot from U.S. 29 to Interstate 95, streamlining Johnston's daily commute to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Fulton, south of Columbia.
"It'll definitely make it easier to get in and out of the neighborhood," he said Thursday, standing on the edge of his property overlooking road crews.
The Anne Arundel County portion of the $253 million project was completed recently. Next year, the Howard end of Route 100 is expected to relieve badly congested Routes 103, 108 and 175, which have been overrun by extensive growth in the eastern part of the county.
And it's not just commuters who are salivating.
At the Timbers at Troy golf course near I-95, two golfers a day, on average, get lost wending their way to the course and miss their tee times.
Elsewhere, businesses north of Columbia will soon have a clean shot to Baltimore-Washington International Airport -- good news for a prosperous county that nevertheless lost two businesses recently to an Anne Arundel County development off Route 100, closer to the airport.
New businesses in Howard County will be limited along Route 100 because the road runs beside so much land designated for subdivisions.
And it's running very quickly of late.
One reason: Driggs Corp. of Capitol Heights won a $35 million contract to build the last western stretch of Route 100 by promising to do so in 15 months -- one of the fastest construction schedules ever, said Jimmy Taylor, general superintendent of that portion of the project.
"We're not doing anything dumb or stupid, we're just working smart," he said last week as he drove through the construction site in his four-wheel-drive Jeep.
On the north side of the road, Taylor pointed to sound walls being erected. To the south, he said, mounds of earth will trap the noise.
Taylor said his crews are working quickly, in part, because road graders are equipped with computerized sound-wave devices that automatically maintain the correct road elevation. "It's all trigonometry, basically," said Greg Dudok, who sells the $20,000-plus devices through Paradigm Equipment Sales of Edgemere.
First proposed in the 1960s, Route 100 was delayed repeatedly because of concerns over neighborhoods and wetlands. In Howard County, it was shelved so long that county planners took it off their general plan for 12 years.
Heading west to east along Route 100, here are some of the other ways the new highway will affect residents.
From U.S. 29, a two-lane stretch of Route 100 has been open for years. That section will be widened to four lanes -- two in each direction -- and an interchange will be built at Executive Park Drive.
Planning to take full advantage of this are Pat Maktos and Lynne Brown, owners of the new Dakota Salon near the proposed interchange. The salon is in the middle of about 80 acres of commercial and retail development, the largest such section along Route 100.
"Location, location," Maktos said last week. "We know this is where the onslaught of development in Howard County will be. It's going to be so wonderful when that [Route 100] cuts through for us."
Near the salon, two hotels are going up -- a Residence Inn and an Extended Stay America. These cater to computer and telecommunications professionals who may stay as long as eight weeks.
"They travel, literally, with a laptop computer and an airline ticket," said Mike Wilson, a spokesman for Florida-based Extended Stay America.
MDG Cos. of Columbia, which is developing this commercial area, still has some parcels for sale -- prime stuff, they say.
"At this point, we feel we can pick and choose who the users will be," said MDG's vice president of project development, Christine Richards.
They've done enough already, said at least one nearby resident.
Rickey Nelson Jones said he didn't realize how much commercial development would take place near his new townhouse at Columbia Park. Sitting on a lawn chair, reading a small Bible, Jones almost sounded like a longtime resident: "It seemed like one month there were trees "
Heading east, the road will wind through residential areas.
At Route 104, drivers will encounter an unusual intersection that incorporates a European-style roundabout. Drivers will meet the roundabout after they take an exit ramp off Route 100 and approach Route 104.
This area has a small traffic detour expected to go into effect tomorrow.