From left, State Highway Administrator Tim Smith, Transportation Secretary Jim Ports, Governor Larry Hogan and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball mark the completion of the MD 32 widening project.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Howard County Executive Calvin Ball cut the ribbon to mark the completion of a five-year project to widen MD 32 between MD 108 and I-70 on Aug. 4.

“This project has transformed MD 32 from a congested two-lane roadway into a safer, more efficient four-lane divided highway,” Hogan noted. “For far too long this corridor was one of the most congested and dangerous sections of highway in the state.”

The project improves the operations of a busy route that provides a vital link for workers commuting to the Fort Meade complex, the state’s largest employer. It also connects communities with shopping centers and other business and employment centers, serving as a gateway for jobs and economic growth.

Approximately 30,000 vehicles travel the roadway each day, with volume expected to grow to 41,000 vehicles daily by 2040.

Under former County Executive Allan Kittleman, Howard County and the State of Maryland each contributed $16.5 million to launch the first 2.5 mile phase of the project. Total cost for Phase I amounted to $40.9 million, with Phase II costing approximately $127.7 million.

Kittleman noted that commuters used to bypass MD 32 congestion by diverting to side streets, which vastly increased the amount of impatient drivers passing by one of the county’s elementary schools.

“This will make it a lot safer for Howard County residents,” he said. “There were a lot of accidents here and I had friends who died on MD 32. Now it’s going to be one of the safer and most efficient roads in Maryland.”

In addition to the roadway improvements, the project incorporates bioswales designed to filter stormwater runoff before it enters the Chesapeake Bay watershed and reforestation efforts that included the planting of 14,000 trees, Ball said.

“We’re also working to make MD 32 more multimodal by partnering to advance the Route 32 Alternative Bike Route project,” Ball added. “Once completed, that project will help our shared use path network along Ten Oaks Road, Guildford Road, and MD 108, extending our path network to businesses along MD 108 and across MD 32.”