Plan under way for new merge lanes on Beltway

State Highway Administration officials are planning new merge lanes on the Baltimore Beltway between Perring Parkway and Harford Road.

Bids opened in June for the project, which could begin its nearly three years in construction this fall. An informational meeting on the project hosted by SHA will be held on Wednesday, July 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. at American Legion Post No. 183 at 2301 Putty Hill Ave.

The new auxiliary lanes from the Perring Parkway to Harford Road exits will make merges on or off the Beltway safer, said State Highway Administration spokesman David Buck.

"It's just a continuous kind of get on, get off throughout the whole stretch," he said.

"What it's going to do is relieve the wave movements we have," Buck added referring to the current shuffled movements on and off the ramp.

The project will also include removing a ramp from the Inner Loop to northbound Harford Road. The ramp from the Inner Loop to southbound Harford Road will be widened and a new traffic signal will be installed where the ramp intersects with the road.

In addition, the project will include replacing the Old Harford Road bridge over the Beltway, with an eye toward future widening of the Beltway. It will also have Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks and bike-friendly shoulders, according to a fact sheet on the project.

The lane and bridge projects are expected to cost $30 to 35 million. The federal government under the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 will fund $5.1 million of the cost and the balance will come from the state.

"This is an important project for the tens of thousands of motorists who get stuck in this bottleneck every day," County Councilman David Marks said. "Just as we need a transit circulator and bicycle and sidewalk connections in the Towson core, we need to widen the Beltway to accommodate long-distance automobile traffic."

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