Gov. Moore Announces He Will Move Forward With Controversial I-495 and I-270 Corridor Expansion Project

Per the Maryland Department of Transportation: “Governor Wes Moore today announced a path forward in addressing mobility and access challenges along the American Legion Bridge, I-495 and I-270, with the submission of a formal federal grant application for improvements to those corridors. This application advances a critical piece of the Moore-Miller program for multimodal enhancements in the Washington region along the I-495 and I-270 corridors.

“Transportation is not just about physical mobility; it’s about quality of life, access and opportunity,” said Governor Moore. “The transportation network throughout Maryland and the National Capital Region must be able to get people where they need to go in a timely and reliable manner. Providing long-desired, equitable transportation solutions in the American Legion Bridge and I-270 corridors is critical to eliminating employment barriers, linking more people to high-demand jobs and stimulating local economies.”

Consistent with the Moore-Miller Administration’s Leave No One Behind agenda, Governor Moore emphasized that the program of activities envisioned for I-495 and I-270 identifies opportunities to be responsive to communities, improve transit and multimodal access and spur inclusive economic growth. To meet this charge, the Maryland Department of Transportation will advance the following transportation solutions alongside stakeholder engagement:

  • Transit and Ridesharing. Maryland will advance transit options and transportation demand management enhancements along the American Legion Bridge, I-495 and I-270 corridors. The program will implement strategies such as express bus options in Maryland and connections to Virginia, ridesharing incentives and parallel transportation improvements including MARC Brunswick Line enhancements and Bus Rapid Transit.
  • Transit-Oriented Development. The Maryland Department of Transportation will advance Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) opportunities throughout the corridors. Maryland has previously supported TOD planning and implementation efforts throughout the WMATA Metrorail system. As part of this program, Maryland will look to accelerate investment in key corridor TOD projects to unlock new developments that create sustainable and inclusive communities.
  • Phased Approach to Managed Lanes. Implementation of managed lanes will be phased, with the American Legion Bridge, I-495 to the I-270 West Spur, and the I-270 West Spur being the focus for initial implementation. The section from the I-270 West Spur to I-370, including through the City of Rockville, will be addressed in a later phase. This phasing will allow for a rational and fiscally prudent phased development.
  • A Comprehensive Planning Strategy for I-270. Maryland will launch a formal environmental study to identify the transportation needs of I-270 North of the Intercounty Connector/MD 200, consider a range of concepts including transit and transportation demand management, and evaluate multimodal approaches for near-term implementation and construction.
  • Engagement on Delivery Method. Maryland will engage the public on the potential implementation of the managed lanes as a publicly funded and delivered project.

The Moore-Miller Administration is actively pursuing federal grants for this multimodal corridor program in partnership with Virginia and local jurisdictions. As such, Maryland has applied for a Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This grant will support the reconstruction of the aging American Legion Bridge and the construction of managed lanes from the bridge to the I-270 West Spur, and on the I-270 West Spur. In doing so, the grant will support reliable and frequent bus transit between Virginia and Montgomery County and the larger Washington region.

The grant request also affirms the commitment to improved bicycle and pedestrian access in the corridor, including a shared-use path across the Potomac River on the new bridge span to connect Maryland and Virginia trail networks and the C&O Canal towpath.

“Listening to communities, officials, business leaders and stakeholders is fundamental to understand the needs of those who travel the American Legion Bridge, I-495 and I-270 every day,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Today, and for future generations, we must work as partners to create a balanced, multimodal network that provides transportation options across jurisdictional lines and across all modes.”

To continue the engagement with the public, the department will conduct open houses in Montgomery and Frederick counties this fall and winter, in coordination with state and local elected officials. These open houses will give residents an opportunity to weigh in on the different elements of this program. Dates and times for these open houses will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Today’s announcement provides the direction for a comprehensive program for these critical corridors,” said Maryland State Highway Administrator William Pines. “We are committed to work with our partners throughout the region to further define transit, transit-oriented development and transportation demand management solutions, alongside strategic highway investments, and determine how best to implement a program aligned with our values and our multimodal vision for the state’s transportation system.”

“Our application for a Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant reflects our vision of the American Legion Bridge, I-495 and I-270 corridors as essential parts of a regional network utilizing transit, ridesharing, rail, bike and pedestrian access to create opportunity and promote inclusive economic growth,” said Maryland Transit Administrator Holly Arnold.”

Featured photo by Montgomery Planning

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