Public comment sought on Md.’s plans for toll lanes on Beltway, I-270

Your chance to weigh in on Maryland’s plans for high-occupancy toll lanes on the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 begins Tuesday.

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration said in a statement Monday that the first public-comment hearing on the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation will begin with a virtual hearing from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18,.

You need to register in advance online. You can watch the hearings online, or listen in by calling 1-855-432-1483. There will also be virtual hearings Aug. 20, Aug. 25 and Sept. 3.

In-person hearings will also be held from noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 1 at Homewood Suites by Hilton, 9103 Basil Court, Largo, in Prince George’s County; and from noon to 9 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Hilton Executive Meeting Center, 1750 Rockville Pike, Rockville, in Montgomery County. Social distancing will be maintained at these hearings; you need to make an appointment to testify, and you can do that by calling 1-833-858-5960. You can listen in on these hearings by calling 1-855-432-1483.

The Draft Lanes Study is looking at ways to relieve traffic congestion and improve transportation, including mass transit, in the area. The DEIS analyzes six plans to build high-occupancy toll lanes and/or express toll lanes, as well as a plan that involves no new construction.

The draft statements were released last month; you can read them online.

“We continue to take every precaution to ensure the public has ample opportunity to safely review and comment on the DEIS and Section 4(f) documents,” Transportation Secretary Greg Slater said in a statement. “The health and safety of the public and our team remains our number-one priority, and we hope the public will take full advantage of these hearings to learn and share their input with us.”

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Rick Massimo

Rick Massimo came to WTOP, and to Washington, in 2013 after having lived in Providence, R.I., since he was a child. He's the author of "A Walking Tour of the Georgetown Set" and "I Got a Song: A History of the Newport Folk Festival."

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