The section of MD 140 (Reisterstown Road) at the interchange with I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) is a major commuter route that is heavily congested today. Everyone who uses the interchange, including commuters, residents, shoppers, and business owners, recognizes that the traffic congestion in the area is increasing every year. MD 140 serves as one of the primary routes for traffic going to and from Owings Mills, Pikesville, and Baltimore City, and also provides access to and from I-695. The MD 140 corridor is currently experiencing significant population and employment growth. Traffic through the interchange is expected to grow by nearly 40 percent by 2020. The growth in the immediate area in conjunction with the overall growth in Baltimore County is expected to generate an additional 15,000 daily vehicle trips on MD 140 at the interchange and an additional 52,000 daily vehicle trips on I-695 over the next 20 years. Without improvements to the existing MD 140 interchange, the additional traffic will result in increased travel times, delays, and the potential for more accidents. In late 1997, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) initiated an engineering study to assess the transportation problems at the interchange and recommend design solutions.
In addition to the anticipated growth in traffic volumes and congestion, other factors entered into SHA's decision to study improvements to the interchange. The existing bridge was completed in 1961 and has not been rebuilt or widened. While safe, the aging structure needs more and more maintenance and remedial work, just as an old car does to keep it running safely and efficiently. In addition, the existing bridge does not meet the most current Federal bridge standards for vertical underclearance on I-695. The existing bridge does not provide adequate additional width underneath for future widening of I-695. Lastly, the existing interchange configuration does not operate efficiently, resulting in congestion through the interchange and MD 140 (Reisterstown Road) corridor.
During the preliminary stages of the project, alternative interchange concepts were developed to identify solutions that would improve existing traffic flow, meet future traffic and community needs, and provide a new bridge span over I-695 that would allow for the future widening of I-695. As a result of these studies, it was determined that the interchange would be upgraded to a Single Point (Urban Diamond) Interchange configuration. The bridge will be raised slightly to provide vertical clearance for future I-695 widening.
Starting in Fall 2000, the State Highway Administration began construction to remove and replace the bridge carrying MD 140 over I-695, as well as modify the existing interchange ramps. In addition, another northbound lane will be provided on MD 140 from just south of Hooks Lane to Woodholme Center Circle. The southern limit of the project is just north of Village Road. The project will be constructed as one contract, though the contractor will implement multiple construction phases.