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Anne Arundel helps fund designs for Ritchie Highway, Route 3, Central Avenue improvements, hopes state pays for construction

Anne Arundel County has dedicated $1.16 million toward partially funding designs of state roadway improvements on Route 3, Ritchie Highway and Central Avenue and hopes the state will fund their construction.

Plans for a section of Route 2, known as Ritchie Highway, in Arnold include adding a third northbound lane between U.S. Route 50 and Arnold Road, adding new sidewalks and creating a connection to the B&A Trail, according to a news release from the Maryland Department of Transportation. The county will contribute $200,000 toward design costs, and MDOT would cover $800,000. The combined funding of the county and state will cover 30% of the total design costs.

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For a part of Route 3 in Crofton, the new design will include a third lane in both directions along the highway between Waugh Chapel Road and Route 175, a shared-use path, sidewalks and crosswalks at Route 175. The county is contributing $160,000 to the project, and MDOT will cover $640,000. The county and state’s funding together will cover 30% of the design funding on this project as well.

And plans for Route 214, also known as Central Avenue, in Edgewater include adding capacity and bicycle and pedestrian improvement along the corridor between Route 468 and Loch Haven Road. The county will fund this design independently with $800,000 devoted to the project, but MDOT State Highway Administration would manage the design.

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While County Executive Steuart Pittman announced the design funding at a meeting last week with MDOT, which maintains the roadways, they were not listed among projects in MDOT’s six-year draft budget for 2022-2027, also known as the Consolidated Transportation Plan, or CTP. SHA spokesperson Sherry Christian said in an email this was because the details hadn’t been ironed out by the time the draft was published.

Pittman said the county has funding set aside that it plans to put toward construction and it is hoping MDOT, and possibly the federal government, will contribute the rest, if the projects get to that stage.

“It’s not a guarantee,” Pittman said. “But we’re in great shape.”

Pittman said he feels sure the state will provide funding for construction because his administration has committed to investing a lot of money in the project, as well as showing their dedication to seeing the redesign through to the end. These are also projects that leaders in the county have asked for for a long time, he said.

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“Every letter from county executives to the state laying out our transportation [priorities] has listed these roads at the top of their list for years and years,” Pittman said.

The Ritchie Highway and Route 3 projects announced by Pittman and the state transportation department are separate from past proposals to address congestion on those corridors. Former County Executive Steve Schuh announced a high-level feasibility study of Ritchie Highway and Route 3 in coordination with the state in 2018.

At the time, the goals of those studies were to seek to widen Ritchie Highway in both directions along the 17-mile stretch from the Baltimore City line in Brooklyn Park to its intersection with U.S. Route 50 in Arnold, and widening Route 3 from the Prince George’s County line to Route 32 in Millersville, a 7-mile run.

Before that, a “corridor-wide” study to address capacity on Route 3 between U.S. Route 50 and Route 32 was put on hold in the state’s transportation budget in 2011, since it was unable to secure federal approval, Christian said. The project remains listed in the draft CTP with no money budgeted for construction.

The designs the county and state are now looking to fund will address congestion on a portion of routes 2 and 3, in addition to parts of Central Avenue.

Other projects the state is investing in in the county include $1.8 million for the Anne Arundel Department of Recreation and Parks to restore a stream valley along about 7,400 feet of Glebe Branch’s perennial channel in the South River watershed to improve water quality and reduce roadway runoff, and $83,000 for the Maryland Port Administration to add 2,800 feet to the Cox Creek Community Trail.

The Maryland Transportation Authority also expects to announce what the preferred location of a new span of the Bay Bridge will be this winter.

Some projects in the works include reconstructing the interchange at Route 295 — set to begin in early 2022 — and adding bicycle/pedestrian facilities along Route 175 across Route 295, and sidewalk improvements on Route 424 from Duke of Kent Drive to Route 450. Improvements along the Bay Bridge include reconstructing and realigning U.S. Route 50 eastbound in the former toll plaza area and completing an automated lane closure system.

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