Money to widen US 15 through Frederick included in Md. long-term transportation plan

If you’ve driven in or through Frederick, Maryland, you’ve likely encountered congestion on U.S. 15. Now, after years of disappointment, money to widen the road is in the state’s long-term transportation plan.

Frederick County and City of Frederick leaders have long sought financial support to widen the 4-mile stretch of U.S. 15, stretching from Liberty Road — also known as Md. 26 — at the north, down to Interstate 70, at the point where U.S. 15 heads to Loudoun County, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Navigating U.S. 15 through Frederick city requires quick lane jogs, and merges.

The $167.7 million in construction funding is part of the Maryland Consolidated Transportation Program Draft for FY 2023 through 2028. While the state has previously provided funding for the design portion of the project, this would be the first money allocated toward construction.

Ultimately, the widening project would add one lane of traffic in each direction, using land that’s currently the roadway’s median. Money would go toward improving interchanges, but leaders have said the project would not require taking any homes.

According to the traffic plan, the affected portion of U.S. 15 currently carries between 93,800 and 117,000 vehicles daily. The State Highway Administration projects a rise to between 121,400 and 182,100 vehicles per day by 2042.

The money for U.S. 15 is included in Maryland’s $19.9 billion Consolidated Transportation Program, covering airport, port, mass transit, as well as roads and bridges projects, for the fiscal years of 2023 through 2028.

The Maryland Department of Transportation said between Sept. 15 and Nov. 15, MDOT officials will travel to each of the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City to discuss the draft plan with officials and in public meetings. The Frederick County meeting is scheduled for Oct. 24, at Winchester Hall, in the city.

After gathering input from the meetings, the MDOT said the Draft CTP will be finalized later this fall and submitted to the General Assembly in January.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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