A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday morning at the intersection of Guilford and Oakland Mills roads in Columbia to mark the start of a series of planned improvements as part of Howard County’s Complete Streets resolution.
Improvements to the area include a new traffic signal to replace the current four-way stop; building 3,000 feet of sidewalk, curb and gutter; installing a bus pad in the northwest corner; and including a storm drain, stormwater management and pavement resurfacing.
“It is with great pleasure to get to this phase of the project,” said Tom Meunier, director of the Howard County Department of Public Works, who thanked everyone for their patience as the project went through design, property acquisition and utility relocation before it could start construction.
County Council member Christiana Rigby, District 3, said the improvements are “long awaited.”
“This intersection has been the source of community pain for many years,” Rigby said, noting numerous accidents over the years and one fatality that occurred in January 2018. “Since entering this office, advancing this intersection and its improvements have been at the forefront.”
The County Council unanimously approved the Complete Streets resolution in October 2019 to increase biking and pedestrian infrastructure in the county.
The resolution includes prioritizing projects that create walkable and more active communities. It also includes a community engagement plan that ensures residents’ input and needs are considered.
There are 108 miles of shared-use pathways for bicyclists and walkers within county lines, 90 of which are in Columbia.
“One of my top priorities has been to ensure all of our residents have safe, accessible and reliable infrastructure,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement.
“This long-awaited groundbreaking marks the start of an improvement project that has been in the works for over 10 years, and we’re getting it done.”
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Construction is scheduled to be complete by late June 2022, according to the Department of Public Works.