The way from Route 24 to U.S. 40 is about to change. And the way from U.S. 40 to Route 24 is changing, too.
A new ramp for motorists traveling from one highway to the other will open later this month.
No longer will motorists on Route 24 be required to drive to Edgewood Road to hook up with U.S. 40.
Instead, they'll drive down a four-lane ramp connecting U.S. 40 and Route 24 near where Route 24 crosses Otter Creek.
Motorists turning off Route 24 and onto the ramp -- there will be a new traffic signal erected -- will be able to go west to Joppatowne or east to Aberdeen. And motorists heading to Interstate 95, Bel Air or Edgewood can turn onto the ramp from U.S. 40 at a new traffic signal to be installed there at the bottom of the ramp.
The new ramp is opening because the State Highway Administration plans to close Edgewood Road from Route 24 to U.S. 40 for one weekend. SHA could not supply an exact date for the closing.
The quarter-mile portion of Edgewood Road is closing so that a new crossing can be installed over a tributary of Otter Point Creek, Chuck Brown, a State Highway Administration spokesman said.
"[The contractor] feels very strongly that he can get it done in one weekend," Mr. Brown said. "This would not cause any problems with commuters or school traffic."
Edgewood Road will be closed on a Friday evening. Construction will take place around the clock, and the road will be reopened Monday morning.
The SHA and Harford County targeted Route 24 for expansion, Mr. Brown said, because of the dense traffic in the area. The average daily traffic count in 1993 for Route 24 from Edgewood Road to I-95 was 16,400 cars. In 2015, the SHA estimates 41,000 cars will travel the corridor.
"[Edgewood Road and Route 24] back up only at peak times, but it gets pretty congested," said Patrick Crowe, vice-president of Williams Construction Co., Inc., the company completing the project.
The $9.6 million project will be the final link in making Route 24 a continuous, four-lane divided highway from U.S. 1 west of Bel Air to Edgewood Road.
The work is requiring the construction of three new bridges on Route 24 over U.S. 40, Otter Point Creek and the CSX rail line, and the creation of wetlands to replace those lost to construction.
Also, workers had to fill gaps up to 35 feet deep to make the roadbed level.
Two of the bridges -- over U.S. 40 and Otter Point Creek -- are nearly completed.
Mr. Brown estimated the new lanes will be completed by next spring, barring delays because of weather.
He said once they open, traffic will be diverted to them while the existing two lanes are repaved.
;/ All the work should be done by next summer.