Route 32 ramp east to I-95 north closing

Bridge repairs to detour drivers to U.S. 1

work to conclude by end of June

April 29, 2002|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

Motorists who travel north on Interstate 95 from Route 32 east will have to use a different route for the next two months.

Beginning Thursday, the State Highway Administration will close that ramp in Columbia to reconstruct the bridge that runs over eastbound Route 32 and two others nearby. The work will conclude at the end of June if weather cooperates.

Drivers will be detoured for a mile and a half to northbound U.S. 1, from which they can immediately exit onto westbound Route 32 and take I-95 from the other direction.

Lora Rakowski, an agency spokeswoman, said the ramp closing can't be avoided because work will temporarily eliminate the merge lane onto the highway.

"We hate to do this," she said. "We try not to do it often."

Contractors will repair 10 bridges on I-95 between Guilford Road in southern Howard and Route 198 in Laurel this spring, a $6.8 million project. Rakowski said the bridges are structurally sound but need a new layer of concrete latex to improve their surface and lengthen their life span.

Workers also will replace guardrails and install rumble strips on and around the bridges, she said.

Most of the reconstruction will be in Howard County. In addition to the work over Routes 32 and 198, Martins Construction Corp. of Falls Church, Va., will overhaul bridges over Guilford Road and the Little Patuxent, Middle Patuxent and Patuxent rivers.

Though Rakowski expects lane shifts and closures on the I-95 bridges, she said the only ramp to be closed is the one leading off Route 32 east.

Kevin Bell, who owns Win Kelly Chevrolet at Routes 32 and 108, said his employees will notice the change because 12 to 15 of them use that ramp daily on the way home to Anne Arundel County.

"What are you going to do?" he asked. "At least they're fixing the roads."

Rakowski realizes that drivers don't like detours. She hopes they'll be patient and avoid distractions - such as cellular phones - when they're wending their way through.

"Be prepared to slow down a little bit as motorists get used to the new traffic pattern," she warned.

The bitter pill might go down easier for Howard residents because the county offers three other ways onto I-95. Drivers also can take Routes 216, 175 or 100.

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