Getting around in Montgomery County just got a little bit easier following the completion of a $124 million transportation project in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration announced the opening of a new Interstate 270 interchange at Watkins Mill Road near Montgomery Village — which will alleviate congestion and is expected to bring significant economic benefits.
The 1.25-mile project extends from Md. 124/Montgomery Village Avenue to Great Seneca Creek at Watkins Mill Road. It includes a new four-lane bridge over I-270 with entry and exit ramps from Watkins Mill Road onto I-270, connecting both sides of Gaithersburg.
MDOT SHA spokeswoman Sherry Christian said the new roadway opened Wednesday to praise and applause.
“We are so excited about this new interchange that will help ease congestion in what is an incredibly busy and thriving area of Montgomery County,” Christian told WTOP.
“It’s going to give not only motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians safer and easier access to Watkins Mill Road. We saw almost as many pedestrians and bicyclists crossing that bridge and enjoying the interchange as it opened yesterday.”
In addition to easing transportation issues, the new interchange is expected to help Maryland’s economy recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s a $124 million project that’s helping to support economic development and provide traffic relief to this thriving area and access to the Technology Corridor, Gaithersburg Medical Center, Metropolitan Grove MARC station, homes and other businesses. And on top of that, it was finished early,” Christian said.
“It’s literally a bridge to the future growth of Montgomery County.”
The interchange is part of Gov. Larry Hogan’s $1.97 billion investment plan for state highways and bridges. Montgomery County kicked in $4.9 million for design and engineering.
“This interchange has tremendous economic benefits for the region and improves access to the Metropolitan Grove MARC Station,” Hogan said in a release. “The men and women of MDOT SHA have delivered a critical link in this employment corridor that will advance our economic recovery as we continue to reopen Maryland.”
Christian praised the crews that worked on the project.
“I mean, they really knocked it out of the park with this new interchange, because they were not only having to do this in the middle of a pandemic, so they of course abided by all the safety restrictions, social distancing and everything they need to stay safe, while still constructing this incredible interchange. And on top of that, finished six months early.”
A list of major MDOT projects can be found at roads.maryland.gov.