Since the mid-1980's, land development around this suburban Baltimore highway has lead to drastic increases in traffic volume. Officials sought to maximize Route 108's capacity and relieve its congestion just as Maryland was developing their "Thinking Beyond the Pavement" approach. As a result, this project contributed greatly to MD's knowledge of Context Sensitive Solutions. The reconstruction of Route 108 resulted in lessons learned about the CSS process and its benefits.
Maryland Route 108 is a two-lane major arterial in Olney Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore. It is one of two major highways providing principal access to and through the Olney area. The roadway widens to a four-lane section between Homeland Drive and Hillcrest Avenue. Major signalized intersections within the corridor are at Olney Mill Road, Maryland Route 97, Prince Phillip Drive, and Doctor Bird Road. The existing right-of-way varies throughout the study area.
The existing land use in the study area includes both residential and commercial land uses. Three historic sites (identified as potentially eligible for the National Register) were identified along the project corridor. Portions of the project corridor are within the 100-year floodplain of the James Creek, affecting two existing structures and raising concerns about erosion, increased run-off, and water quality.
Significant land uses along the corridor include Montgomery General Hospital, an elementary school and a middle school, and commercial development centered around the intersection of Maryland Route 97 (Georgia Avenue) and Route 108.
By the mid-1980s, land development was rapidly occurring, and contributing to increased traffic and resultant congestion. Over 20,000 vehicles per day used the facility, with traffic forecasts indicating a potential for as much as 35,000 vehicles per day by 2010.
The highway network and land development within the general area are considered established. There were no plans for addition of other parallel or crossing facilities that would influence traffic patterns on Route 108.
Problem to be Solved
Traffic already on the corridor exceeded the capacity of Route 108. Expected future traffic increases would further increase congestion. As a principal arterial, the function of the route was to carry such regional traffic. There were no opportunities to divert traffic to other parallel arterials. Olney and the surrounding area is suburban in character, with relatively low density development. The primary transportation mode for regional through traffic was and would remain the automobile.
Maryland Route 108