Howard County Announces US 29 Pedestrian Bridge Improvement Project

Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced work to improve and enhance the pedestrian bridge that crosses US 29 in Columbia is expected to begin Tuesday, September 5.

According to a press release,

The project will involve replacing the bridge’s existing fence with a colored, spiraling geodesic tube around the bridge, installing new lighting and improving security features.  Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed by late November.

“Not only does this bridge provide a convenient and safe crossing of US 29 for those who walk or bike, it is a vital element in the continuing development of Downtown Columbia and the revitalization of Oakland Mills Village Center,” said Kittleman. “These improvements will help transform the bridge into another iconic landmark of Columbia.”

During the duration of the project, the pathway from the Stevens Forest Road trailhead to the bridge will be closed. A section of pathway on the west side of US 29 leading to the bridge will also be closed. A temporary protective structure will be constructed where the bridge passes over the pathway to ensure the safety of pathway users. Informational signs have been posted to advise pedestrians and cyclists of the project and alternate routes.

For pedestrians and cyclists whose essential transportation needs will be impacted by the temporary closure of the bridge, the County’s Office of Transportation will be providing the following solutions:

  • Complimentary Regional Transportation Agency (RTA) bus passes valid for bus service between the Oakland Mills Village Center and Downtown Columbia.
  • CarpoolNow, a smartphone app to help people find a carpool.
  • A signed bike route using the Seneca Drive bridge.

In addition, periodic single-lane closures and shifts along US 29 will be necessary to allow contractors to safely work above the roadway during construction, expected to occur in off-peak weekday hours.

The pedestrian bridge opened more than three decades ago and it has been an important connection between Columbia’s Town Center and residential communities to the east, including Oakland Mills and Long Reach.  However, the chain-link fence barrier around the bridge proved aesthetically unappealing and poor lighting contributed to the community’s concerns about safety and security.

A feasibility study on bridge upgrades began in 2014 and was completed in 2015.  Numerous community input meetings and opportunities were held in Fall 2016 and a design study was completed in December 2016.  The spiraling geodesic tube was the clear community choice among four options for the bridge.

Additional information about the US 29 pedestrian bridge project is available online at www.howardcountymd.gov/US29Bridge.