Home Archived Articles Infrastructure Improvements to Impact Route 32, Brighton Dam Traffic

Infrastructure Improvements to Impact Route 32, Brighton Dam Traffic

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A major construction project that will include safety improvements to and the widening of a 2.5-mile section of Route 32 between Route 108 (Clarksville Pike) and Linden Church Road will impact traffic beginning sometime in August.

According to Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) Spokesperson Charlie Gischlar, this construction constitutes the first phase of a major state project to upgrade Route 32 from two to four lanes between Route 108 and U.S. 70. Project completion on the first phase is expected in fall 2019.

The design-build project will address a Howard County priority to improve safety and ease congestion on the highway. Currently, an average of more than 30,000 vehicles per day travel this section of Route 32, with traffic projected to increase to an average of 52,000 vehicles per day by 2040.

“The project is on a fast track, and a majority of the construction will take place behind a concrete barrier wall,” Gischlar said. “There will be single-lane closures with flagging operations during off-peak hours, between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.”

For several weeks during the beginning and end of construction activity, the highway may also need to be restricted to a single lane on occasion, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on workdays.

Additionally, the Route 32 ramp to Linden Church Road will be closed for approximately one year.

“We’re asking motorists to add 15 minutes to their commute if they need to follow the detour to Linden Church Road from the next exit,” Gischlar said.
Total project cost is estimated at $30 million to $35 million, and it will be split between Howard County and the state of Maryland.
Brighton Dam Rehab

Another project, the rehabilitation of Brighton Dam, was set to begin on June 1 and to pose ongoing consequences for traffic.

Located on Brighton Dam Road, Brookville, the dam spans the Patuxent River between Montgomery and Howard counties, holding back approximately 6.3 billion gallons of water in the Triadelphia Reservoir. It entered service in 1944 with the primary purpose of providing source drinking water for customers of the Laurel-based Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission (WSSC).

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and MDE (Maryland Department of the Environment) inspect the dam regularly and have found that the dam is well maintained and structurally sound,” said Claude Modise, WSSC project manager for the rehabilitation project. “The work is needed to make repairs to the 70-year-old structure to prolong the dam’s life into the future.”

According to information on WSSC’s website, the project calls for replacement of intake tower bar screens and sluice gates, and the replacement of side plates and heaters for the Tainter gates, which are wedge-shaped structures that rotate on a pivot to either hold back or release water.

Workers will also strengthen the Tainter gates, replacing the coating on the gates, and replace the concrete spillway surface. The project will take approximately two years to complete.

According to the WSSC website, the Triadelphia Reservoir may be lowered significantly so that most middle range rain events will not damage the work efforts.

Once construction begins, recreation areas located along the reservoir, including boat ramps, will be closed to the public, including recreational areas at Brighton Dam, Triadelphia, Greenbridge, Pig Trail and Big Branch. The Azalea Garden will remain open, but with limited parking.

Motorists can expect truck traffic, and Brighton Dam Road will be reduced to a one-lane bridge over Brighton Dam, with the traffic flow being controlled by traffic lights for the duration of construction.

Howard’s Projects

In Howard County, several roadway projects are winding down.
Phase 2 of an ongoing Howard County construction project at Blandair Park, in Columbia, started in February, and included the relocation of Oakland Mills Road through Blandair Park.

Oakland Mills Road has been closed from the Old Montgomery Road/Oakland Mills Road intersection to the playing field parking lot entrance, necessitating a detour. According to a county Department of Public Works release, playing fields at Blandair Park will remain open during the construction project, which should be completed by mid-summer.

Also underway, a construction project along Route 1 to align Montevideo Road and Port Capital Drive, in Elkridge, is expected to be completed by late September.

Additions include new roadway and traffic signals, water and sewer connections, storm drains, a storm water management pond and the relocation of overhead wires by BGE. Signs and flagging operations are in place to direct traffic as needed during workday construction hours and the occasional weekday work night.

Finally, milling and paving operations are underway Sundays through Thursdays from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Dobbin Road, between Route 175 and Snowden River Parkway, in Columbia. Flagging operations and signs are in place to direct traffic as needed during construction hours.

Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by late June.