(October 30, 2003) – Following input from the public, federal, state and local agencies, and using information from previous studies, the Intercounty Connector (ICC) Study Team presented suggested corridors to be carried forward into the next phase of study for the project as well as some suggestions that are being recommended to be dropped from further consideration. The information presented will be shown at upcoming Alternatives Public Workshops to be held in November for comment on the Study Team’s current thinking.
The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are conducting the study. The ICC project is intended to link existing and proposed development areas between I-270 and I-95/US 1 corridors within central and eastern Montgomery County and northwestern Prince George’s County with a state-of-the-art, multi-modal, east-west highway that limits access and accommodates passenger and goods movement. The ICC study kicked off in June.
Suggestions of possible corridors to be carried forward and those suggested to be dropped from further consideration will be displayed at the workshops to be held on November 13, 15 and 19 at locations throughout the Study Area. Following the input that is received from the public and the reviewing federal, state and local agencies, a determination as to what alternatives should be retained for more detailed study will be made. Maryland Secretary of Transportation Robert L. Flanagan and SHA Administrator Neil J. Pedersen announced the corridors that are being suggested today at a news briefing held at SHA’s District 3 Facility in Greenbelt.
“This is an extremely important phase within the study,” said Transportation Secretary Flanagan. “The suggested corridors presented today are the result of a great deal of input from the public and regulatory agencies at all levels of government. We are pleased to be at this phase of study.”
“It’s extremely important that we hear from residents, business owners and commuters on our current thinking,” said Administrator Pedersen. “We encourage participation at our upcoming Alternatives Public Workshops.”
The Study Team will present a summary of conceptual engineering and environmental studies to date, as well as provide an opportunity for further public comment at the workshops. The workshops will be conducted in an interactive open-house format, with no formal presentations. Members of the Study Team will be available to answer questions, record comments and discuss the project. All information at the meetings will also be available on the ICC website at www.iccstudy.org.
Below is a listing of the preliminary corridors suggested to be carried further into more detailed study. They consist of the No-Action Alternative, which includes no major improvements, and build alternatives in two corridors: Corridor 1 and Corridor 2.
Corridor 1 generally follows the alignment of the Master Plan Alternative studied in the 1997 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). However, any alternative to be studied in this corridor would reflect significant differences in the footprint that was studied in 1997.
Corridor 2 generally follows the corridor of the Northern and the Midcounty Highway/MD 198 (MM198) alternatives studied in the 1997 Draft EIS, but with changes to reflect this project’s Purpose and Need. Alternatives in Corridor 2 would seek to include the best alignment opportunities from both of the 1997 alternatives in an effort to reduce environmental impacts and to respond to growth that has occurred since the last study. Alternatives in Corridor 2 would incorporate a generally smaller footprint than the previous Northern Alternative and would include limited access and design features that have less impacts.
Brief Summary of Each Alternative
The No-Action (or No-Build) Alternative must be studied in the NEPA process in order to form a basis of comparison for the build alternatives. With the No-Action Alternative, no substantial improvement will be made to east-west transportation facilities beyond those improvements included in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments’ (MWCOG) Constrained Long Range Transportation Plan.
Minor intersection, interchange and roadway improvements to address localized problems will continue to occur, as well as routine maintenance projects. Measures to reduce travel demand, such as more transit and vanpool incentives, will also occur.
This corridor generally follows the Master Plans of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The alternative extends from I-370/I-270 near Shady Grove to US 1 south of Laurel. Several alignment options in this corridor would be recommended for study in the vicinity of Rock Creek Park and Paint Branch Park. Also under consideration is an option to terminate the ICC at I-95. New express bus and improved feeder bus service would be included.
This corridor extends from I-370/I-270 to I-95/US 1 south of Laurel. From I-370 to MD 97 (Georgia Ave.), this corridor would be identical to Corridor 1. However, at MD 97, it curves to the east and continues to the north side of MD 198, crossing I-95 near Corridor 1, and terminating at US 1 north of Muirkirk Road. Several alignment options would be considered in the vicinity of Rock Creek Park, Norbeck, Spencerville and Old Gunpowder Road. Also under consideration is an option to terminate the ICC at I-95. New express bus and improved feeder bus service would be included.