Beginning the morning of Feb. 22, a stretch of the Intercounty Connector from Gaithersburg, Md., to Silver Spring will be open to the public. For the first two weeks, it will be free, and then the tolls kick in, using new technology.
The tolls for the ICC's first segment will be $1.45 for morning and evening rush hours, $1.15 for non-peak hours and 60 cents for overnight driving. But if you don't have an E-Z Pass, you'll get a video toll that requires you to not only pay for the highway toll, but an administrative fee of $3 each time you use the ICC sans E-Z.
Tuesday's media tour of the ICC highlighted the berms and sound walls that protect neighboring homeowners and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on environmental stewardship to protect wildlife and parkland.
The first section of the ICC is expected to have an immediate impact on traffic.
"We believe the opening of the first phase of the ICC will ease traffic congestion along Route 115 and other surface roads used to travel across the county," said Melinda Peters, the ICC Project director for the State Highway Authority.
Beginning March 1, the MTA commuter bus will travel along the new section of the ICC and continue onto Interstate 95 and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. It's free for the first two week, too, and after that the fare is $5.
The entire 18 miles of the ICC is expected to be completed on time and on budget by the end of the year or early next year.