Md.'s Route 29, Improved but Not Perfect
Maryland's reconstruction of Route 29 in the Washington suburbs has turned that roadway into 95-Lite, a reasonable alternative for commuters to the congested interstate that parallels it.
Because the state has replaced some Route 29 intersections with interchanges, drivers can go a long way without encountering a traffic light. It's similar to what Virginia is doing on Route 28, the busy corridor just east of Dulles International Airport.
But neither state has the resources to get the job done all at once, and while they're working, the landscape around the projects is changing.
Drivers breezing south on Route 29 each morning eventually enter an older world of signals and crawling traffic in the more built-up communities near the Capital Beltway. To many, the improvements mean they get to the traffic jam faster.
Take a trip down some of the east-west side roads that feed into Route 29, and you see the earth making room for hundreds of houses that will send more commuters into the traffic stream.
Neil J. Pedersen, Maryland's nationally respected highway administrator and a regular user of Route 29, notes that a lot of drivers exit the roadway before reaching the section with the most traffic lights. Of course, that's not going to comfort the crowd that will be sitting Monday morning in the southbound right lane waiting to get onto the Capital Beltway.
Route 29 is an example of a much-improved roadway that still frustrates many motorists.
Dear Dr. Gridlock: