US-29 Pedestrian and Bike Bridge Project
About the Project
Howard County has made improvements to the pedestrian and bicycle bridge that crosses US-29 in Columbia, starting in the fall of 2017 and completed in spring of 2018. The improvements included the installation of a spiraling geodesic tube around the bridge, upgraded lighting and additional safety enhancements, but required the closure of the bridge for about 3 months to allow the work to be completed.
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 also upgraded security cameras on the bridge with wireless transmission that will allow clearer images. The project is estimated to cost more than $1 million and was completed in Spring 2018.
If you have questions, comments, or concerns about the project, please contact the Office of Transportation at (410) 313-4312.
Latest Update-Bridge Open During Daylight Hours
May 16, 2018
The bridge is now fully open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
January 9, 2018
This week, the contractor completed construction on the spiraling geodesic tube, allowing the bridge to be opened during daylight hours. Over the next several weeks, the contractor will be installing the new lighting. The bus pass system will remain in place until the project is completed with new lighting.
December 18, 2017
This week, the contractor will be lifting the spiraling geodesic tube onto the bridge itself. Following this, the fencing on both sides of the bridge will be installed, and the new lighting will be added. This work is expected to be completed during the month of January.
October 18, 2017
Work to improve the pedestrian bridge that crosses US 29 in Columbia will resume on October 26, resulting in the closure of the bridge until January. Work has been briefly suspended due to an interruption in the contractor’s materials supply for the colored, spiraling geodesic tube that will surround the bridge.
The County will continue to distribute and honor complimentary bus passes for those travelling between the Oakland Mills Village Center and The Mall in Columbia. Those passes may be obtained by contacting the Office of Transportation at 410-313-4312.
September 25, 2017
Howard County has been informed that a contractor’s difficulty in securing materials needed to manufacture the new spiraling geometric cage for the US 29 Pedestrian Bridge has led to a delay in the completion of the project. Because of that supply delay, the bridge will be re-opened in the morning on September 27 and will remain open daily from dawn until dusk until construction resumes. This reopening will last until early November and the project is now slated to be completed in early January.
The County will continue to distribute and honor bus passes for those travelling between the Oakland Mills Village Center and the Mall in Columbia, during the time the bridge is re-opened. Please contact the Office of Transportation at (410) 313-4312 for assistance with passes.
September 5, 2017
The bicycle and pedestrian bridge over US 29 closed today for the bridge improvements project. The bridge will be closed for the duration of the construction, which we expect to be a period of about 3 months. During this time, pedestrians and bicyclists will not be able to access the bridge. Office of Transportation Staff will be on site at the Lakefront end of the bridge today from 3:30PM to 6:30PM and on the Oakland Mills end of the bridge from 6:00AM to 9:00AM Wednesday through Friday to answer questions about the project, issue bus passes, and aid bridge users in finding alternatives.
August 11, 2017
The project to renovate and improve the bicycle and pedestrian bridge over US 29 is quickly approaching! Howard County expects to close the bridge during the first week of September, and construction will start immediately afterwards.
The improvement project will replace the current “cage” with a spiraling geodesic tube, upgrade the lighting on the bridge, and install fiber to provide police with clearer images from the security cameras on the bridge. Unfortunately, the project will require the bridge to be closed for approximately three months.
If your essential travel will be disrupted by the bridge closure, please contact the Office of Transportation at (410) 313-4312 . Howard County will offer free bus passes valid for travel between Oakland Mills and Downtown Columbia while the bridge is closed. If you commute across the bridge when the bus does not run, please call the Office of Transportation at (410) 313-4312 to learn about available assistance.
The "How to Get Around the Closure" section of this website contains important information on bus schedules, carpooling, and bicycling via a different route.
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.