State officials are hopeful that BY Christmas they can take the wrappings off a long-anticipated $18.2 million road project near Annapolis.
Nearly three years in the making, construction to widen and realign lanes and create new ramps at the interchange of U.S. 50, Route 450 and Solomons Island Road - one of the county's most congested junctions - is "90 percent" complete, said David Buck, spokesman for the State Highway Administration.
All that crews are waiting on is clear weather, so that they can open the new ramps and install permanent paving markers, Buck said.
"The cold shouldn't preclude us from getting this done ... in the next two weeks," said Buck, adding that the only impediment would be snow.
Among the project improvements:
A new merge lane on U.S. 50 between Riva Road and Solomons Island Road, or Route 2.
Access to westbound U.S. 50 and Jennifer Road for those traveling north on Solomons Island Road. Previously, drivers only had access to eastbound U.S. 50 from that point.
A hiker-biker trail along Route 2 between Jennifer and Somerville roads.
A road extension and ramp from Jennifer Road that goes under U.S. 50 and connects to the highway's eastbound lanes.
SHA and Anne Arundel County are partners on the project, with the county contributing $10 million. One of the aims of the project was to improve access to Anne Arundel Medical Center.
"I am proud of this investment," said Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens. "While initially the interchange was proposed to better serve the Anne Arundel Medical Center, it's clear that this interchange will benefit a number of Anne Arundel County residents by giving them travel options."