The State Highway Administration (SHA) is currently in the engineering phase of the project to widen Route 32 in Howard County from 2-lanes to a 4-lane divided highway between MD 108 and Linden Church Road. Although this project has been hotly contested, the expansion is moving forward and has been on the proponents’ list of top transportation priorities for more than fifteen years. As far back as 2004, then State Senator Robert H. Kittleman acknowledged that “the road’s heaviest users would come from outside the county, allowing residents of designated growth areas improved access to jobs and shopping.”
The SHA has heard the concerns of many homeowners who will be impacted by the road expansion project. This includes those whose land may be directly impacted by SHA’s published projection that approximately 1.44 acres of wetlands, 3,837 linear feet of stream, 14 acres of floodplain and 30 acres of forest will be affected. SHA has also heard from property owners, including residents from the Village of River Hill, whose proximity to the expanded roadway will result in measurably increased noise pollution. There appears to be a solution to the noise concerns that recognize that this project will occur and that also addresses the reasonable expectation of homeowners to be able to live without the resulting stress producing and potentially illness producing levels of noise pollution. The construction/installation of sound barriers during the first stage of the design/build would mitigate concerns expressed about the impact of increased noise on the quality of life and the property values of homeowners.