State officials outline $91 million, 6-year plan to upgrade county roads Route 32 is targeted for improvements to relieve traffic congestion

October 20, 1998|By Tanya Jones | Tanya Jones,SUN STAFF

State transportation officials outlined plans for $91 million worth of roadwork in Anne Arundel County over the next six years at a meeting with county planners and elected officials yesterday.

The plans include $20 million in federal and state funding to construct highway interchanges on Route 32 at the National Security Agency to replace intersections that use traffic lights to slow motorists from highway speeds.

County elected officials have been pushing for improvements on that road for years, along with an upgrade of the 1.5 miles of Route 32 between Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 198. That stretch, where the road narrows to create a perpetual traffic bottleneck, bounds NSA, where about 20,000 people are believed employed. The route on either side of the stretch is a full-speed highway.

The upgrade is being planned and could be added to a list of construction projects in coming years, according to Parker F. Williams, state highway administrator.

"That should make everyone happy," County Executive John G. Gary said. "It's a very important project."

The county is willing to spend $5 million to expedite Route 32 improvements, Gary said.

He credited Maryland's senators and Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who lobbied President Clinton to get NSA's cooperation, for securing needed federal approval of the project.

The Route 32 work is among several road and transit projects in a federal transportation bill Congress passed in May. With PTC passage of the Federal Transportation Equity Act, Glendening was able to add about $380 million in transportation projects to the state's six-year draft plan.

"It enabled us to move forward with some critical projects," said David L. Winstead, state transportation secretary.

But the state has left off at least one critical project, the improvement of Route 3 south of Route 32, according to Republican Del. Robert C. Baldwin of Gambrills.

"It seems like Route 3 is getting lost in the shuffle," Baldwin said at the briefing. "We've got congestion at Route 3 and Davidsonville, and that's got to be solved. It's just dropped off the plan."

A local task force studied ways to ease congestion on Route 3 for nearly five years before recommending widening the road into a boulevard with three lanes in each direction and additional turn lanes.

Williams assured Baldwin that SHA officials realize the importance of improvements along the road.

"We hear you," Williams said.

Other projects outlined yesterday include:

$325,000 for engineering work on a four-lane bridge to replace the two-lane bridge where Route 174 crosses Interstate 97 in Glen Burnie. The $5 million to $6 million construction cost has not been approved.

$23 million for widening Route 2 in Edgewater from four lanes to six between the South River bridge and Route 214.

$824,000 this year to set up a reversable lane system on Mountain Road where traffic would be westbound in the morning and eastbound in the afternoon, with 12 overhead electronic signals to guide drivers. And final engineering work on an upgrade for Mountain Road from South Carolina Avenue to the intersection with Route 100.

$16 million in safety improvements and repaving around the county.

$2 million to install electronic message signs and traffic and weather sensors along I-97 and U.S. 50.

$3.4 million to extend the BWI Hiker/Biker Trail from the BWI Overlook to North County High School.

Pub Date: 10/20/98

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