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Governor Hogan and Executive Kittleman announce $152 million investment to widen Maryland Route 32

State-county partnership fast-tracks first 2.5 miles north of Maryland Route 108

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Governor Larry Hogan and Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced a $152 million investment to widen Maryland Route 32 from Maryland Route 108 in Clarkesville to Interstate 70 and to study continued improvements into Carroll County.

During a press conference at the State Highway Administration (SHA) shop in Dayton alongside the busy two-lane road, Hogan and Kittleman said a cost-splitting, state-county partnership will allow the state to fast-track Phase I of the project, widening 2.5 miles to a four-lane divided highway from Route 108 to Linden Church Road.

“Our administration has made it very clear that building, maintaining and fixing Maryland’s roads and bridges is our top transportation priority,” said Governor Hogan. “This long overdue funding to reduce congestion and improve safety along MD 32 is just one more way that we are changing Maryland for the better.”

Kittleman, who has made dualization of this section of Route 32 a top transportation priority, said the project will “significantly impact thousands of Howard County residents and businesses.” Currently, more than 30,000 vehicles use this road every day.

“This is one of the most congested roads in the State,” Kittleman said. “The gridlock causes safety problems and pushes motorists to find alternate routes through surrounding neighborhoods, which causes even more problems. I am pleased that through this creative solution with the State we will be able to reduce congestion and support regional economic development.”

The Route 32 widening and improvement project will be completed in three phases.

Construction of Phase I, which will cost $33 million, will begin this summer. SHA’s design/build process allows for faster completion of the project. The State agreed to fast-track this portion because the County will split the cost, contributing $16.5 million from an existing highway fund.

The County’s contribution comes from its road excise tax fund, which receives revenue from a tax collected on each building permit processed in the county. The fund currently has a balance of more than $50 million.

Phase II is a $107 million project to widen Route 32 from Linden Church Road to Interstate 70, starting in 2019. During this phase, a new $6 million bridge also will be built at Triadelphia Road, which is needed to allow for a wider Route 32 roadway below. SHA and the County will provide multiple opportunities for community input on the design of Phase II of the project.

Phase III includes a planning study – already underway – to examine widening Route 32 from Interstate 70 into Carroll County to Maryland Route 26. Another related project includes $5 million in intersection improvements near the Armory in Sykesville.

Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn, who attended the press conference, said this stretch of Route 32 is the sixth most congested portion of state highway during evening commuting hours. SHA predicts the roadway will see an increase in average daily traffic from 30,400 to 58,000 vehicles by 2035.

“Clearly this project is going to relieve considerable congestion for our residents,” said Greg Fox, Councilmember for District 5 where the project will take place. “The State Highway statistics I’ve seen indicate that Phase I alone could reduce delays in the morning and evening rush hours by as much as 74 percent and 78 percent respectively.”

Over the past few years, SHA reports there have been 76 crashes, with 31 resulting in 40 injuries, along this stretch of Route 32. Over a 10-year period, there were a total of 179 crashes reported by SHA. According to the Howard County Police Department, these numbers do not include dozens of additional collisions resulting in “minor property damage” that are not reported to the State.

The road dualization is expected to not only improve traffic flow on Route 32 at peak hours, but also reduce the number and frequency of accidents. Creating a center median and widening both sides of the road will significantly improve safety, according to the SHA.

 

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