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Officials break ground on $37.5 million highway project in Howard County

Cars head northbound on Route 32 from Route 108 to the Linden Church Road bridge. The State Highway Administration is working to widen Route 32 between Route 108 and Linden Church Road.
Cars head northbound on Route 32 from Route 108 to the Linden Church Road bridge. The State Highway Administration is working to widen Route 32 between Route 108 and Linden Church Road. (Andrew Michaels/Baltimore Sun Media)

Maryland and Howard County officials broke ground Thursday on a $37.5 million road project to widen 2.5 miles of state Route 32 from a two-lane road to a four-lane, divided highway by fall 2018 — a move they say will reduce rush hour congestion by more than 70 percent.

The road is among the most congested in Maryland, according to the State Highway Administration. More than 30,000 drivers take the road each day, a number that is expected to rise to 52,000, officials said.

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"Too many have experienced the severe congestion common here in Howard County, and some people have lost loved ones in fatal crashes," Gov. Larry Hogan said. "This two-lane road is simply not built to handle the volume of traffic."

Howard County police have reported 288 collisions on Route 32 between Route 108 and Interstate 70 — 41 of which have resulted in injury, officials said.

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County Executive Allan Kittleman called it "one of the most congested and dangerous roads in the region" and praised Hogan and Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn for the state's aid in fixing the road.

Beyond laying the pavement, crews will add barrier walls, work-zone roadway signage, erosion and sediment controls and will perform general vegetation management and clearing.

Concrete General Inc., of Gaithersburg, won the competitively bid project and is designing the next phase, a 6.5-mile stretch between Linden Church Road and I-70, which will begin construction in fall 2018.

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