(July 11, 2014)

Two long-awaited road improvements are coming to Owings Mills. One project is at I-795 (Northwest Expressway) and Dolfield Road; the second is at the bottleneck along Route 140 (Reisterstown Road) and Painters Mill Road.

"The projects are based on priorities set by the counties. As money becomes available, these are what they'd like us to do," said David Buck, spokesman for the State Highway Administration (SHA), part of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

The two projects in Baltimore County are part of nearly $150 million in highway improvements around the state that SHA announced last month. Buck credits the legislature's passage of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013, which raised an additional $4.4 billion to a six-year overall transportation budget of $15.6 billion.

"We were able to significantly advance a number of projects," he said.

Vicki Almond, Baltimore County Councilwoman for the 2nd District, which encompasses both projects, applauded the state and county for funding the projects.

"The I-795 project is huge for businesses and residents there. The Reisterstown Road project is key for traffic to move more freely," she said. "I'm very excited about the positive things going on in the second district."

The I-795 project will widen that road from four to six lanes and construct a new interchange at Dolfield Road. The project is intended to reduce congestion, improve traffic safety and provide additional access to this residential/commercial corridor.

The first phase of the project, design, will begin this summer at a cost of $5 million, split between $4.5 million from the federal government and $500,000 from the state.

"This is a major capital project to accommodate the planned growth of Red Run Boulevard and to serve Owings Mills Boulevard and Franklin Road," Buck said.

The design phase is expected to take two years. Once the design is approved, construction can begin. Building the project is expected to take six to eight years at an estimated cost of $150 to $200 million. However, money has not yet been allotted for construction.

"This is the first step," Buck said.

The MD 140 project will widen the road to three lanes in both directions between Garrison View Road and the CSX Bridge near Owings Mills Boulevard, a distance of about three miles, and improve the intersection at Reisterstown and Painters Mill roads.

The project is intended to reduce congestion, improve traffic safety and provide additional capacity and access for planned developments such as Foundry Row and Owings Mills Town Center, as well as the Owings Mills Metro station. The project includes bicycle and pedestrian paths, landscaping and drainage improvements.

The project has two design phases. The first design, from Garrison View Road to Painters Mill Road, has been completed at a cost of $3.6 million. The second design, Painters Mill Road to the CSX Bridge, will begin this summer at a cost of $1.7 million from the state.

The second design is expected to take about 18 months. When both designs are approved, Buck expects construction to cost $25 to $30 million from the state, and a still-to-be-determined amount from the Foundry Row developers, who are committed to funding the southbound improvements. The state has not yet allocated funds for the project.

"You have existing congestion on Route 140. SHA wants to alleviate it but part of the project is for the Foundry Row developers to offset the traffic caused by their development," Buck said.

Elsewhere in the state, SHA broke ground to widen three miles of northbound Route. 29 from Seneca Drive to south of Route 175 in Howard County, a $32.7 million project; improve I-696 (Baltimore Beltway) from Perring Parkway to Harford Road, a cost of $30 to $35 million; and improve and replace bridges at I-695 at Leeds Avenue and the Route 1 interchange, $65 to $70 million.