This 2005 photo shows the southbound Arundel Expressway (MD 10) at the exit for MD 710 (Ordnance Road) in Glen Burnie. The expressway was built with a six-lane capacity -- with rights-of-way reserved in the median for two additional lanes -- in anticipation of MD 10 serving as the primary north-south route between Baltimore and Annapolis. (Photo by Steve Anderson.)
BEFORE THERE WAS I-97, THERE WAS ROUTE 10: During the early 1960's, highway planners at the Maryland State Roads Commission (SRC) devised plans for a freeway to relieve congestion along the Baltimore-Annapolis corridor. Early relief for overcrowded Ritchie Highway (MD 2) came with the construction of the Glen Burnie Bypass (originally MD 3, now I-97), which was built between 1954 and 1957. However, the Glen Burnie Bypass not only suffered from substandard design, but also extended only six miles south of the Baltimore Beltway (I-695), far short of the John Hanson Highway (US 50).
With attention focused toward the completion of Maryland's Interstate highway mileage, funding for the Arundel Expressway was not assured. A 1968 study commissioned by the SRC recommended building the 14.9-mile-long expressway as a toll road. The "Arundel Turnpike" proposal was followed by the following 1971 joint resolution in the Maryland General Assembly:
Whereas, Annapolis, the Capitol of the State of Maryland, can readily be reached by vehicular traffic from the west via the John Hanson Highway; from the east via Routes 50 and 301 and from the south via Route 301, all of which provide adequate access to the Capitol from the west, east and south…
Whereas, the Arundel Expressway traversing a route generally from the north to the vicinity of Annapolis, when completed, will provide adequate access from that direction. However, financing is not now available or expected to become available in the immediate future to complete said highway…
Whereas, legislation is being introduced currently with this Resolution which would authorize the construction of such Arundel Expressway as a toll highway or a highway partially financed from toll receipts; now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Chairman of the State Roads Commission of Maryland (sometimes referred to under the provisions of Chapter 526 of the Acts of 1970, the Act creating the Department of Transportation, as Director of Highways of the State of Maryland) and the Secretary of Transportation are requested to conduct or have conducted a study to determine the feasibility of completing the Arundel Expressway from its presently planned and financed terminus to the vicinity of Annapolis as a toll road to be financed from the sale of toll revenue bonds or partially financed from the proceeds of the sale of toll revenue bonds and partially financed from other sources…
That it is the sense of the General Assembly of Maryland that the State Roads Commission or the Secretary of Transportation, as the case may be, be and is hereby authorized to expend from the State Roads Commission's Construction and Maintenance Fund, or the Secretary of Transportation's Gasoline and Motor Vehicle Revenue Account, such sum of money as may be necessary to pay for the cost of independent engineering or traffic studies necessary to complete this request.
Although the state was unable to secure the funding for the entire route, which was estimated to cost $131 million in 1972, it did manage to build a short mile-long section of MD 10 from I-695 south to MD 710 (Ordnance Road) in Glen Burnie; this section opened in December 1972. The expressway was extended another 1.2 miles south to MD 270 (Furnace Branch Road) by October 1977 and another 1.4 miles to MD 648 (Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard) in Harundale by March 1978. Anticipating the important role for MD 10 in relieving congestion in the Baltimore-Annapolis corridor, these sections of the expressway were designed with six lanes and room in the center median for either two additional lanes or two tracks for rapid transit (as was proposed in the 1964 Baltimore Metropolitan Area Transportation Study).
A TRUNCATED SOUTHERN TERMINUS: The development of the Baltimore-Annapolis Transportation Study" in 1978 altered plans for the Arundel Expressway dramatically. Following the cancellation of several Interstate highways statewide earlier in the decade, the MD 10 corridor was studied for possible inclusion in the Interstate system. However, the BATS study determined that a more westerly corridor - the route of the current I-97 - would provide a higher level of traffic service while minimizing disruption to nearby communities.
Nevertheless, the State Highway Administration (SHA) - the successor to the SRC - proceeded with plans to extend MD 10 south to MD 100 and MD 2 along the right-of-way it had purchased years earlier. In November 1988, the Arundel Expressway was extended 3.6 mile south from MD 648 to MD 100 (Paul T. Pitcher Memorial Highway). The final extension of MD 10 opened in 1991 as a four-lane connector between MD 100 and MD 2 in Pasadena.
According to the SHA, the Arundel Expressway carries approximately 50,000 vehicles per day (AADT), far short of its design capacity of 85,000 vehicles.
This 2004 photo shows the northbound Arundel Expressway (MD 10) approaching its terminus at the Baltimore Beltway (I-695). Ghost ramps and landscaped rights-of-way hint at a possible extension of MD 10 north to the Harbor Tunnel Thruway (I-895). (Photo by Alex Nitzman, www.aaroads.com.)
CANCELED FROM SEVERNA PARK TO ROUTE 50: South of MD 100, the Arundel Expressway was to maintain its six-lane configuration as it ran parallel and to the east of existing MD 2. MD 10 was estimated in the early 1970's to carry about 65,000 vehicles per day by 1996.
With development of the Arundel Expressway stalled because of funding shortfalls and growing opposition along the proposed route, the SHA undertook new studies for a freeway corridor between Baltimore and Annapolis in 1978. The "Baltimore-Annapolis Transportation Study" compared the proposed MD 10 route with a more westerly route comprised of the Glen Burnie Bypass, an expanded MD 3, and the eastern end of the Patuxtent Freeway (then proposed as MD 32).
The study found the MD 3-MD 32 corridor handled local and long-distance traffic better than the MD 10 corridor. An estimated 30 to 40 homes and 20 businesses would have to be condemned for the western alternative, roughly half the displacement estimated for the eastern alternative.
On June 11, 1979, the SHA announced that the westerly alternative would become the new Interstate 97, which all but sealed the fate of the Arundel Expressway south of MD 100. Funds for the $225 million freeway - it had doubled in cost to $450 million by the time I-97 was completed in the mid-1990's - most likely came from transfer funds related to the cancellation of several Interstate highways in Baltimore.
The state sold off the remaining rights-of-way for the Arundel Expressway during the late 1980's and early 1990's.
EXTENSION TO THE HARBOR TUNNEL AND THE INNER HARBOR: There are hints at the MD 10 / I-695 interchange in Glen Burnie - notably dirt ramps, wooded areas, and wide underpasses where the northbound MD 10 carriageway was to continue - that the Arundel Expressway was slated for extension probably as far north as I-895 and I-95, giving motorists from downtown Baltimore and the Harbor Tunnel a direct route to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge via the Arundel Expressway.
As proposed in the 1964 Baltimore Metropolitan Area Transportation Study, which incorporated the city's aggressive "10-D" expressway construction program, MD 10 (cited as the "Arundel Freeway" in the study) was to continue north of I-695 through the Curtis Bay and Brooklyn neighborhoods in Baltimore City between Curtis Avenue and the CSX ore pier. It was to have an interchange with I-895 between EXIT 7 (MD 2 / Hanover Street) and EXIT 8 (Frankhurst Street), then parallel MD 2 to its planned northern terminus at I-95 near EXIT 54 (MD 2). As I-95 was to have been routed north along the Inner Harbor instead of through the Fort McHenry Tunnel, the I-95 / MD 10 interchange was to have been a "T"-interchange with I-95 movements to the north and west, and MD 10 movements to the south.
The northern extension of MD 10 likely was canceled by the time the city's less disruptive "3-A" expressway program was approved in 1969. The absence of the I-95 and I-895 connections likely was another reason why the "Glen Burnie Bypass" alternative was considered for I-97 instead of the "Arundel Expressway" alternative.
NEW EXIT NUMBERS: Mileage-based exit numbers should be placed on the Arundel Expressway as follows:
SOURCES: "Maryland Plans Six More Toll Roads," The Washington Post (2/08/1968); "Session Laws Volume 707, Senate Joint Resolution 12," Maryland General Assembly (5/06/1971); "Permission To Alter Road Plans Asked" by Jack Eisen, The Washington Post (3/22/1972); "Maryland 20-Year Highway Program (1977-1996)," Maryland State Highway Administration (1972); "Baltimore-Annapolis Route Chosen for New Interstate," The Washington Post (6/12/1979); "State Backs Freeway on Route 3, Rules Out Rail Line to Airport" by Karen Hosler, The Baltimore Sun (6/12/1979); "Red Line Corridor Transportation Study," Maryland Transportation Authority and Federal Transit Administration (2004); "Major Transportation Milestones in the Baltimore Region Since 1940," Baltimore Metropolitan Council (2006); Adam Froehlig; Scott Kozel; Mike Pruett; Alexander Svirsky.
MD 10 shield by Scott Colbert. I-97 shield by Ralph Herman. Lightpost by Millerbernd Manufacturing Company.