Marylanders have a chance to make their voices heard on a controversial plan to ease congestion on Interstate 270: Maryland transportation officials will soon hold public workshops to gather opinions on the proposed expansion.
The Maryland Department of Transportation will hold four meetings from Nov. 12 to Nov. 21 for input from the public on proposed solutions to I-270 congestion between I-370 and I-70, as it seeks to move forward with Gov. Larry Hogan’s I-270 and I-495 traffic relief plan.
The workshops will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the following locations in Frederick and Montgomery counties:
- Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019 – Clarksburg High School: 22500 Wims Road, Clarksburg, Md. 20871
- Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019 – Lincoln Recreation Center, Lincoln Elementary School: 200 Madison St., Frederick, Md. 21701
- Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 – Urbana Fire Department Banquet Hall: 3602 Urbana Pike, Frederick, Md. 21704
- Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019 – Activity Center at Bohrer Park: 506 South Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, Md. 20877
Sessions will include a brief presentation at 7 p.m. together with information displays, handouts and staff availability for questions.
The plan calls for more than 70 miles of improvements and would have private companies pay for the design and construction of toll lanes:
- I-495 (Capital Beltway) from south of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, including improvements to the American Legion Bridge over the Potomac River, to west of MD 5 and
- I-270 (Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Highway) from I-495 to I-70, including the east and west I-270 spurs.
Plans to widen I-270 have stoked outrage from Montgomery County residents and elected officials concerned about possible damage to the environment and displacement of families, amid a perceived lack of communication between planners and community leaders.
The state has an interactive map of how to find which properties would be affected.
“This project has been managed like a runaway bus in the movie — our job is to slow it down,” Tom Hucker, chair of the Montgomery County Council’s transportation committee, said at a town hall this May, where residents stressed a desire for fewer cars and more environmentally-friendly options.
Hogan later fired back on Twitter, calling participants “pro-traffic activists … holding a road kill rally to halt our plans to solve the congestion crisis.”
The governor’s initial plan included an initial extension of Virginia’s I-495 Express Lanes over the American Legion Bridge, north through I-270 to I-370 in Gaithersburg. Revenue from that southern section would then be put toward another extension of toll lanes up to I-70.
“Multiple studies over the last decade have shown that the National Capital Region is one of the most congested in the nation, and Marylanders face the second highest commuting times in the country,” MDOT said in a news release Tuesday.
“On average, I-270 is congested seven hours each day.”