US-29 Pedestrian and Bike Bridge Project

About the Project

Howard County will be making improvements to the pedestrian and bicycle bridge that crosses US-29 in Columbia, starting in the fall of 2017. The improvements will include the installation of a spiraling geodesic tube around the bridge, upgraded lighting and additional safety enhancements, but will require the closure of the bridge for a period of about 3 months during the fall and winter of 2017-18.

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.

In addition to enhanced lighting, the County will also install fiber to provide police with clearer images from security cameras on the bridge. The project is estimated to cost more than $1 million and should be complete in Spring 2018.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns about the project, please contact David Cookson at dcookson@howardcountymd.gov or (410) 313-3842.

Para obtener información sobre el proyecto en español, haga clic aquí.

Pour obtenir des informations sur le projet en français, cliquez ici.


Will You be Affected by this Project?

Howard County will provide complimentary bus passes valid for travel between Oakland Mills Village Center and Downtown Columbia to individuals whose essential transportation needs will be impacted by the temporary closure of the bridge. Further information on these bus passes will be available as the date of the bridge's closure approaches.

Frequently Asked Questions

What will the upgraded bridge look like?

The upgraded bridge will feature a light, airy, and iconic geodesic spiral with new nighttime lighting and upgraded fiber for the bridge's security cameras. To view a selection of renderings of the new bridge, click here.

When will the project be happening?

Work will begin this fall and be completed by spring of 2018.

How long will the bridge be closed?

We expect the bridge to be closed for 3 months.

Will the County give me a bus pass?

The County will provide bus passes to bridge users while the bridge is closed. We’re also looking into other ways to mitigate the closure.

How can I keep getting informed about the project?

Stay tuned to this website to see the latest updates!

Latest Updates

May 2, 2017

In 35 hours of surveying, the survey team conducted 193 interviews with a total of 271 bridge users. The single most frequently mentioned trip purpose was exercise, with 96 respondents stating that as a purpose for their trip. The second most common trip purpose was travelling to work, with 73 respondents providing that answer, and the third most common trip purpose was travelling to the mall, with 47 respondents providing that as an answer. Those who used the bridge tended to use it often; more than a quarter of those surveyed stated that they used the bridge every day, nearly two-thirds used it more than once per week, and more than eight in ten users crossed the bridge at least once per week. Notably, of the 73 who gave work as a purpose of their trip, 39 made the trip every day – a rate twice as high as the rate of every-day bridge users among the full surveyed population.

The most commonly mentioned option for alternative travel between Oakland Mills and Downtown Columbia during the bridge closure was riding the bus; more than 30 percent of bridge users mentioned that option. Only slightly fewer—just under 30 percent—mentioned taking a different route or going someplace else. Daily commuters were much more bus-dependent than the surveyed population as a whole; 37 of 44 daily commuters (84 percent) mentioned the bus as a method of travel during the bridge’s closure. Evening and midday hours were the busiest, while early- and mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and late evening were less busy. The highest level of bridge use—in the 4:30 to 7:00 PM hours—may be due to people who use the bridge for recreational purposes after they get home from their daily activities. The surveying also yielded an estimate that 226 people use the bridge in a typical weekday.

March 24, 2017

Starting March 26, 2017, Howard County and KCI Technologies will be conducting a survey to assess the impact of the bridge's coming temporary closure and determine the best way to mitigate the closure for bridge users.

March 8, 2017

Executive Kittleman announced that work will begin this fall to improve the bridge. To read the full statement and watch the announcement, click here.