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Interstate 97 south
Interstate 97 south
The path to southbound Interstate 97 toward Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland, begins here at Interstate 895, the Harbor Tunnel Thruway, at this ramp to the I-895 B Spur, one of two spurs connecting I-97 and nearby Maryland Route 2 (Ritchie Highway) to I-895 proper, in the Brooklyn area of northern Anne Arundel County, just outside of Baltimore's city limits. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The I-895 spur crosses over mainline I-895 via this flyover ramp. As most of I-895 is a toll road, there is no access to the spur from mainline I-895 northbound. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The spur now settles into a four-lane configuration with 55 MPH speed limit. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Access to I-97 southbound sits one mile from this sign. Just ahead, the spur crosses over Maryland Route 170, known in this area as Belle Grove Road. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Drivers headed toward Bowie, about 20 miles to the south in Prince George's County, or Richmond, Virginia via Maryland Route 3 and/or U.S. Route 301 are strongly encouraged to follow I-97. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Before the I-97 ramp, the spur passes under Hammonds Lane. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The ramp to I-97 south now branches off. The I-895 B Spur continues a short distance southward to MD 2, which is recommended for drivers heading into Glen Burnie. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The I-97 gore sign. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Drivers now find themselves on the much shorter I-895 A Spur. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The ramp curves sharp left here, and up ahead it merges with another ramp, that one from the inner loop of Interstate 695 (Baltimore Beltway). Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The highway now receives the ramp from the inner loop of I-695. It is here that I-97 begins in earnest. I-695 itself crosses the highway just ahead. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
A flyover ramp from northbound I-97 to the inner loop of I-695 passes over the southbound lanes here, and then the southbound lanes receive a ramp from the outer loop of I-695. On this note, I-97 south settles into a three-lane carriageway. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
As it crosses over West Furnace Branch Road, the first southbound I-97 reassurance shield is joined by a second shield noting it provides access to US 301. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The first southbound exit is exit 16, serving Maryland Route 648 (Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard), Ferndale and, less directly, Glen Burnie. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Another I-97 reassurance shield, this one solo. I-97 from here to just south of exit 12 opened in the 1950s as the Glen Burnie Bypass and was designated as part of MD 3 until about 1991, along with about another four-and-a-half mile stretch to the Millersville interchange. The Glen Burnie Bypass required substantial upgrades to meet Interstate standards including reconfiguration and replacement of ramps and overpasses, and both carriageways being repaved and widened. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The next exit after MD 648 is exit 15, which from I-97 south leads to and from Maryland Route 162 (Aviation Boulevard) and the Baltimore/Washington International Airport. Less than a mile to the south of that sits Maryland Route 100. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Before exit 16, I-97 passes under Wellham Avenue. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Three districts of the BWI region are accessible from the next two exits beyond MD 648. The West Nursery District can be reached via exit 15 (and more directly from a separate corridor, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway), while the Arundel Mills and Stoney Run districts are reachable from two separate exits off the forthcoming Maryland Route 100. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Exit 16 now branches off; exit 15 follows in half a mile. MD 648 from Crain Highway in Glen Burnie northward into south Baltimore comprises a portion of former routings of both US 301 and MD 3. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
A MD 648 shield features on the exit 16 gore sign; this usually indicates freeways or significant arterials in Maryland. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
With exit 15 looming, exit 14, for MD 100, is announced for the first time here. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Passing under I-97 here is Maryland Route 176 (Dorsey Road). MD 176 has direct ramps to and from I-97 northbound. To reach it from southbound I-97, drivers must take MD 162 a short distance. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
I-97's control points are listed here as being Annapolis, via US 50 and Maryland Route 665, and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, solely via the US 50 corridor. The highway passes under Stewart Avenue just ahead. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
A sign with MD 100 shield sits in the southbound gore of exit 14. MD 100 was built as part of a cancelled outer beltway for Baltimore. The last segment of it, on the northeast side of Columbia in Howard County, connecting with U.S. Route 29, opened in November 1998. MD 100's interchange with I-97 was constructed in phases between 1990 and 1996 as I-97 was upgraded and sections of MD 100 opened. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Before I-97 passes under MD 100, exit 13, for Maryland Route 174 (Quarterfield Road), is announced as being three-quarters of a mile ahead. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
MD 100 now crosses over I-97. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Before reaching exit 13, drivers get a head-up that exit 12, serving Maryland Route 3 Business (part of the aforementioned Crain Highway) and New Cut Road, is forthcoming. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
I-97 passes under MD 174 before the ramp to it leaves the highway. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The exit 13 gore sign. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The rightmost lane of southbound I-97 is set aside here for drivers leaving the highway at exit 12. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Veterans Highway has its northern terminus at exit 12. It was the northbound carriageway of MD 3 before I-97 entered service. Today, Veterans Highway is a two-lane undivided road and is a business route to I-97 between Millersville and the south side of Glen Burnie. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Another control city sign joins this gantry as exit 12 branches off. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
I-97 crosses over MD 3 Business/New Cut Road here. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
MD 3 signage joins the I-97 shield post-exit 12. I-97 from here to exit 7 was a direct upgrade of MD 3, which carried the Crain Highway moniker. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
An important mileage sign sits here: Annapolis is a 15-mile drive from here, the Bay Bridge 22 miles and the "Potomac River Bridge", officially called the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge and taking US 301 over the Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia, is 63 miles ahead, presumably by taking MD 3 to US 301, although this is elaborated on below. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
As I-97 passes under Brightview Drive, this sign announces that exit 10 for Benfield Boulevard, another access point to Veterans Highway as well as Severna Park, is a mile ahead. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Six gas stations are off exit 10 alone, many of them along Veterans Highway. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Millersville is most directly accessible from exit 10B, Benfield Boulevard a short distance east to Veterans Highway. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
As with exit 14, one lane is reserved specifically for exit 10 traffic. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
A variable message sign with AM radio frequency notation sits above the southbound carriageway prior to the exit. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Exit 10B, for Benfield Boulevard west, branches off first. This was the only interchange to be built from scratch during the construction of I-97. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Exit 10A now leaves the highway, with Benfield Boulevard crossing over the highway just prior. Drivers of large trucks headed toward Richmond via US 301 are instructed to take I-97 all the way to US 50/301 instead of attempting to take MD 3 through the Crofton area. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
The onramp from Benfield comes in and the highway proceeds southward. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Exit 7, one mile ahead, is where I-97 leaves the corridor of Maryland Route 3. Maryland Route 32, the Patuxent Freeway, also has its eastern terminus here and heads toward Odenton, and Fort Meade and Columbia beyond that. Photo taken 07-18-2016.
Long-distance travelers planning to go as far south as Richmond on US 301 are urged to avoid the heavy traffic that plagues MD 3 through Crofton and instead stay on I-97 to US 50, then connect with US 301 at Bowie. Local interests to Crofton, conversely, must follow MD 3. Amid this sign sits a crossing over the Severn Run, a Chesapeake Bay tributary which becomes the Severn River downstream from here. Photo taken 07-18-2016.