Howard County, Maryland, has experienced significant growth in the last few years, with suburban development spreading "upcounty" from Columbia into Clarksville and beyond. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration appears to be keeping pace and has been taking steps to keep the increasing traffic volumes moving on one of the county's busiest non-interstate highways.
MDOT SHA is actively widening Route 32 between Route 108 and Linden Church Road, where the highway currently transitions from a four-lane divided highway to a two-lane road. Westbound drivers routinely incur delays near the point where two lanes transition to one past Route 108, especially on weekday afternoons.
The widening between Maryland Route 108 and Linden Church Road began in 2017 and is in the final stretch, with the new carriageway scheduled to open this summer. MDOT SHA announced that the project is 79% complete as of this week.
Traffic shifts are scheduled in June as the agency's contractor works on the final placement of hot mix asphalt. Stormwater management is ongoing, too, including installation of bioswales on the median strip.
Last Wednesday, SHA hosted an informational public meeting at Glenelg High School to provide project information on the next phase of work, which calls for converting Route 32 into a four lane highway all the way up to Interstate 70.
Charlie from Woodbine, Maryland, writes:
"Will the ‘bottleneck be moved from 108 to Linden Church?"
The expansion of Route 32 farther north and west is in the design phase, but construction draws ever closer. Active roadwork could begin as soon as the newly widened section of highway near Route 108 opens this summer. The finish line, however, is still several years away.
The second phase of widening would include more than 6 miles of highway and reconstruction of several bridges. The overpass for Triadelphia Road would need to be completely replaced. An eastbound detour for drivers who use Triadelphia Road is scheduled to go into effect this summer as well.
Recent traffic counts
for Route 32 near the current lane drop mirror those sampled beyond the bottleneck at Burntwoods Road, suggesting most drivers are continuing through beyond Linden Church. A 29,722-vehicle-per-day average was calculated near Route 108, and a 25,022-vehicle-per-day average was calculated near Burntwoods Road. The new lane drop near Linden Church should be gradual, but it's possible that a familiar backup forms at the new lane drop.
On the other hand, slight reductions in volume can make a sizable difference in when a traffic flow breaks down. Perhaps Route 32 will function better with more westbound throughput beyond Route 108. Here's hoping ...
From his perspective, Charlie says that the state has been doing a great job with updates, and that there have been minimal delays due to construction.