MDOT releases documents on next steps of Capital Beltway/I-270 plan ahead of virtual hearings

A look at some of the highway interchanges and toll locations in the proposal. (MDOT screenshot)

A look at where in the process the environmental impact study is in the I-495/I-270 expansion project. (MDOT screenshot)


It’s no surprise to local drivers that congestion on the Capital Beltway and I-270 in Maryland causes hours of slow travel each weekday.

In fact, the I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study, produced as part of the Maryland Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration’s effort to fix the problems vehicles have traveling through the D.C. area, said the roads are severely congested 10 and seven hours, respectively, each weekday.

The state and federal authorities are about halfway through an Environmental Impact evaluation of the construction and installation of tolls and managed lanes that they believe will improve traffic flow on 70 miles worth of highway, stretching as far northwest as Frederick, Maryland, and as far southeast as Upper Marlboro, Maryland.

The project even includes the Capital Beltway a few miles past the American Legion Bridge in Virginia.

In spite of the coronavirus pandemic, the project and the studies required before construction permits are issued continue to move forward.

At this point in the project timeline, authorities were required to release a number of documents to the public that evaluate the environmental impact of the construction. The document came out July 31, ahead of four required public hearings, which will now be conducted online in August and September.

Dates of hearings:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 18
  • Thursday, Aug. 20
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25
  • Thursday, Sept. 3

Those interested in testifying during the hearings or watching the proceedings can register online.

The documents examining the project, including the virus’ impact on the timeline, the proposed configurations of the new travel lanes, the impact on homeowners, how much noise the new lanes will create, the costs of the different tolls, travel time improvements, and more, can be found on the project’s website.

The documents outline how, for example, the new lanes’ intrusion on public parkland should be mitigated by the project’s developers adding more green space to other areas of the community.

The Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to participate in the Aug. 25 event.

Dan Friedell

Dan Friedell is a digital writer for WTOP. He came to the D.C. area in 2007 to work as digital editor for, and since then has worked for a number of local and national news organizations.

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