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Construction is winding down on Route 1 this spring.
Photo credit: Jonathan Iacovacci

Construction on the first phase of a project to add bike lanes, raised medians and turn lanes to Route 1 will finish this spring after a year-long delay, according to a Maryland State Highway Administration engineer.

Derek Gunn, SHA’s District 3 engineer, said a combination of staffing and supply shortages during the pandemic slowed construction on the state road, which had an original finish date of spring 2023.

Gunn said the project is more than 74% complete.

“We have a little bit of work ahead of us,” Gunn said. “We’ll be … pouring concrete for the new median north of Lakeland [Road] and we’ll be doing some streetscaping finishing up.”

The project, which began in 2020, will widen the street to make room for bike and turn lanes going north and south. Work also includes adding pedestrian lighting, resurfacing the road, landscaping the medians, painting wide-striped crosswalks, upgrading drainage, and curb, gutter and sidewalk construction.

The first phase of the project involves the stretch of Route 1 between College Avenue and Greenbelt Road. The second phase, which has not started and is not yet fully funded by the state, will cover Route 1 between Greenbelt Road and the Beltway.

“The changes, once it’s happened, will make Route 1 very nice,” College Park Mayor Fazlul Kabir said.“ I know it’s a pain. … It’s very congested.”

Kabir said city officials are working with the federal and state governments to try to raise money for Phase 2.

Former Gov. Larry Hogan funded the project in 2015 as part of a $1.97 billion statewide investment in roads and bridges. Construction on Phase 1 of the Route 1 project came in with a price tag of $28.7 million, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation, which estimated a cost of $50 million for the entire first stage of the project. 

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Photo credit: Jonathan Iacovacci

Former Maryland Transportation Secretary Gregory Slater said in 2020 that the Route 1 improvements, combined with the construction of the Purple Line, would make College Park “a model for Maryland’s vision for safe and efficient multi-modal access and mobility.”  

Kabir agreed.

“It’s not about making the street pretty,” Kabir said. “It’s more than that. … It’s for our safety.”

Managers of Route 1 businesses said the project has had its pros and cons.

“Bike lanes would be nice; [this] is definitely not a nice place for bikes to ride,” Kieran Leonard, manager of Sweetgreen, said.

But Kayla Scott, manager at Looney’s Pub, said construction has been disruptive.

“They would have to turn off our water because they were doing construction,” Scott said. “It’s been, what, three years?”