Route 24 wider, safer and less congested

$40 million improvement project opens Wednesday

October 04, 2011|By Mary Gail Hare, The Baltimore Sun

Motorists along Route 24 in Harford County will experience new traffic patterns Wednesday as the state opens a nearly $40 million overpass in Abingdon, the major part of a three-year project that included improvements to Routes 24 and 924.

The changes mean less congestion and a safer ride for the more than 65,000 motorists daily who pass through one of the county's busiest intersections.

The Maryland Transportation Authority began construction on a 1.5-mile stretch of Route 24 from the Interstate 95 ramp to Route 924 in 2008. Engineers designed improvements to increase capacity, avert lengthy backups and make the four-lane highway safer, officials said. The most visible change is the bridge over Route 924 that eliminates the traffic signal for through traffic on Route 24 and allows a nonstop drive from I-95 north to Singer Road.

Only traffic turning at the intersection will stop at the signal and then proceed east to Route 924, also known as Emmorton Road, or west to Tollgate Road. Large shopping complexes line both sides of the road, and turning traffic created long delays at the intersection. Congestion frequently backed up traffic on I-95 at Exit 77, particularly at rush hour. Since most Bel Air-bound vehicles from I-95 rely on the Route 24 exit, traffic stacked up on the interstate's ramps.

The project also includes widening of the Route 24 bridge over the interstate and yet-to-be completed improvements to I-95 at the Abingdon exit.

A half-mile temporary roadway through a wooded area along Route 24 was built to keep traffic flowing during construction. That road, which linked with Route 924 at Woodsdale Road, will be demolished now that the project has been completed.

Police will be on hand throughout the day to assist motorists with the changes, officials said.

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