Work will begin Thursday on a long-planned project to expand a portion of Route 29 in Howard County that is considered a "major commuter bottleneck" near Columbia's town center, officials said.
The $32.7 million project will see three miles of northbound Route 29 widened from two to three lanes from just north of Route 32 to just south of Route 175. The work will also remove direct access points from residential streets onto Route 29 in the area, furthering the transition of the road into a controlled-access highway.
The project was originally approved in 1987. Funding was awarded with revenue generated from the state's 2013 gas tax, officials said.
Officials said the widening of the road "will break a major commuter bottleneck that will relieve congestion for thousands of travelers and local residents."
Transportation Secretary James Smith and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman will be on hand for the groundbreaking, and will also announce several other projects that will move forward this year — including two along the Baltimore Beltway.