Wash. Co. Legislator Supports Governor’s I-27 Widening Plan

He says taxpayers will not pay for any construction.

 

Hagerstown, Md (KM). A Washington County legislator is expressing support for Governor Larry Hogan’s plans to relieve traffic congestion on Interstate 270. Delegate Neil Parrott (R) says it’s about time. He says he worked for the State Highway Administration for 13 years, and that interstate¬† needed to be widened¬† even at that time..

“I-270 needed to be widened just to accommodate the existing traffic that’s on the road. And, unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. And so what we’ve seen is the breakdown in traffic so that rush hour has totally extended: it’s much longer in the morning; it’s much longer in the afternoon where people are sitting there, they can’t move,” says Parrott.

The plan calls for the installation of express toll lanes. Their revenues will be used to pay for any widening. “The existing lanes, they remain free,” he says. “And so with these new express toll lanes and the free lanes, you’ll have less congestion on the free lanes, and you’ll be able to use those express toll lanes to get to where you want to go.”

Often with a lot of road widening, some private property will need to be condemned and acquired by the state. But Parrott says that won’t happen. “In order to increase safety for the on-ramps and the off-ramps, there may need be some private land taken there. But for the majority of the project, it is in the middle of I-270 and it won’t be affecting people’s properties.”

Part of the plan calls for the Maryland Department of Transportation to research the feasibility of a monorail system along I-270. “I think it’s a concept that’s worth looking into. I think at the end of the day, that’s probably a very long term project. I don’t see that happening with the widening,” says Parrott.

He says a monorail could connect  Frederick with the Shady Grove Metro Station in Gaithersburg.

Even though I-270 is miles away from his district in Washington County, Parrott says any improvements to the highway will benefit his constituents. “People from Washington County, they work in Bethesda; they work in DC. Some of them are able to work from home maybe two days a week, and commute three days a week. So it would be a huge help for people who are working in the Beltway area to have a road that will actually work and allow them to go in,” he says.

The plan was approved last week by the Maryland Board of Public Works with the Governor and Comptroller Peter Franchot voting in favor, and Treasurer Nancy Kopp in opposition.

Parrott says construction won’t; start for a while because the process for the request for proposals from contractors won’t be finalized until November, 2020.

 

By Kevin McManus