Route 100 answers prayers Finally finished: Shouldn't take long for east-west extension to have an impact on other roads.

November 30, 1998

THE OPENING of Route 100 through Howard County completes a project that began with an idea first expressed more than 20 years ago. The two-decade lag from start to finish does not diminish the road's expected impact. Opening the highway's final leg should significantly reduce traffic on the county's most popular east-west thoroughfares -- Routes 32 and 175.

Completion of all 21 miles of Route 100 allows motorists to travel from Ellicott City to Gibson Island in Anne Arundel County. In Howard, it gives commuters a quick connecting route between Interstate 95 and U.S. 29. That should reduce the number of drivers using the Baltimore Beltway to get between those two points.

Route 100 also provides east county residents with better access to the MARC train in Dorsey, making further traffic reductions possible.

Opening Route 100 should be a catalyst for renewed discussion about another east-west highway proposal that has been kicked around in Maryland for decades -- the Intercounty Connector. Gov. Parris N. Glendening had withdrawn his support for that road but said during his re-election campaign that the idea wasn't dead.

One mentioned possibility is a limited-access highway similar to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. But a two-lane parkway connecting Montgomery and Prince George's counties may not suffice: It would have minimal impact on the Capital Beltway's heavy congestion.

In a state with a dearth of major east-west arteries, Route 100 provides a four-lane thoroughfare that has developers predicting it will be a springboard for economic activity in the BWI corridor.

That will be a bonus. The road's main job is to give commuters another way to get to work and back. It's also another route to the Chesapeake Bay. As such, it's the answer to many motorists' prayers.

Pub Date: 11/30/98

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