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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 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


The spur now settles into a four-lane configuration with 55 MPH speed limit. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.

A closer look at the bridge over MD 170, which is unmarked. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


Before the I-97 ramp, the spur passes under Hammonds Lane. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


The I-97 gore sign. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Drivers now find themselves on the much shorter I-895 A Spur. It curves sharp left here, and up ahead it merges with a ramp from the inner loop of Interstate 695 (Baltimore Beltway). Photo taken 09-04-2023.


The highway now receives the ramp from the inner loop of I-695. It is here that I-97 begins in earnest. A flyover from I-97 north to the inner loop of I-695 crosses over southbound I-97 just ahead. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


The southbound lanes of I-97 then receive a ramp from the outer loop of I-695. On this note, I-97 south settles into a three-lane carriageway. Photo taken 09-04-2023.

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In the distance sits signage for exit 16, serving Maryland Route 648 (Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard), Ferndale and, less directly, Glen Burnie. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Just past an I-97 reassurance shield, a variable message sign displays the time to Maryland Route 32 nine miles south. 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 09-04-2023.


Distances to Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge via I-97 (and U.S. Route 50), and Richmond, Virginia via US 301, are displayed on this gantry along with billing for the Ferndale light rail station and park-and-ride off exit 16. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


The next two exits, respectively intersecting MD 162 toward BWI and MD 100, are announced at left as exit 16 approaches. Photo taken 09-04-2023.

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Wellham Avenue crosses over I-97 prior to the exit. Photo taken 09-04-2023.

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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 09-04-2023.

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A MD 648 shield features on the exit 16 gore sign; this usually indicates freeways or significant arterials in Maryland. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Exit 15 southbound leads to Maryland Route 176/Dorsey Road, which has direct ramps from I-97 north. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Exit 15 leaves the highway ahead. MD 162 forms part of BWI's Airport Loop alongside MD 176. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Next is exit 14, Maryland Route 100 toward Ellicott City to the west and Gibson Island east. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


I-97 passes under Stewart Avenue as exit 14 nears. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


MD 100 now crosses over I-97. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


The exit 13 gore sign. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


The rightmost lane of southbound I-97 is set aside here for drivers leaving the highway at exit 12. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


Another control city sign joins this gantry as exit 12 branches off. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


I-97 crosses over MD 3 Business/New Cut Road here. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


An I-97 reassurance shield follows exit 12. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


Millersville is most directly accessible from exit 10B, Benfield Boulevard a short distance east to Veterans Highway. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


A variable message sign with AM radio frequency notation sits above the southbound carriageway prior to the exit. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


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 09-04-2023.


The exit 10A gore sign. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


The onramp from Benfield comes in and the highway proceeds southward. Included with this I-97 reassurance shield is a "TO MD 3" marker. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Exit 7, one mile ahead, is where I-97 splits from MD 3, whose present northern terminus is at the interchange. Maryland Route 32, the Patuxent Freeway, also has its eastern terminus here. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


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. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Between exits, I-97 crosses over Severn Run. Just to the east, it expands into the tidal Severn River and empties into the Chesapeake Bay downstream of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Beyond this bridge, I-97's surface changes from concrete to asphalt, and will remain this way the remaining distance to US 50. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Crofton is formally stated here as being via MD 3 south. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Exit 7 has control cities of Bowie for MD 3 south and Odenton for MD 32 west, which also goes through the Fort Meade area, then on to Columbia and beyond. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Exit 7 departs the Interstate at right. Veterans Highway has its south end at this interchange, with traffic from it defaulting onto MD 3 south. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


A few feet later, I-97 crosses over the southbound surface connection from Veterans Highway to MD 3. In the other direction, northbound MD 3 leads into northbound Veterans Highway beyond the ramp to I-97 north. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


MD 3 north crosses over I-97 as it curves sharp left. The reason for this sharp maneuver is that it was once a one-way ramp from MD 32 west to MD 3 north. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


There is then a bridge over the ramp from I-97 north to MD 32 west (and, nominally, MD 3 south). Photo taken 09-04-2023.


As the Interstate nears the end of its curve, an advance sign for the next exit sits alongside the long ramp carrying traffic from MD 32 east and MD 3 north onto I-97 south. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


After that ramp joins I-97 south, Millersville Road crosses over the highway. To the west, at MD 3, it becomes Maryland Route 175 and serves as the local route parallel to MD 32 through Odenton. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Exit 5 leads to Maryland Route 178, now I-97's local parallel, and the area of Crownsville. This is a partial, southbound-exit and northbound-entrance interchange. Both the segment of I-97 between exits 7 and 5 and the two ramps constituting exit 5 were an eastward extension of MD 32 prior to Interstate construction work. Exit 5 also accesses the Anne Arundel County Fairgrounds, not to be conflated with the site of the Maryland Renaissance Festival further down Crownsville Road. Photo taken 09-04-2023.


Exit 5 is situated just behind the Waterbury Road overpass. Photo taken 09-04-2023.

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