Maryland is advancing its plans to build a new American Legion Bridge and express toll lanes along the Interstate 270 corridor.
Before the pandemic, the bridge was well known for potentially being the worst traffic choke point in the area, but the new bridge would include two new toll lanes in each direction so drivers could pay to get around traffic.
“This is a really important step, and we still have a lot of collaboration and work ahead of us. We’re completely committed to that. Trying to focus on a good partner and looking for a diverse proposal was critically important as we received this information,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater.
The new bridge would also include new spaces for bicyclists and pedestrians so they could get across without a car.
A group of contractors known as Accelerate Maryland Partners has been selected by the state to design and build the project. The group includes the company Transurban, which currently operates the express lanes in Virginia.
The project hasn’t come without controversy: What isn’t known is if the Beltway would need to be widened and homes or businesses lost.
Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker has been working to slow the project, saying it won’t benefit the highway.
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“They have proposed a 1980s style solution of highway widening and not much else, and that’s not the world we are living in anymore,” Hucker said.
Maryland’s Board of Public Works still has to approve the selection of the contractor. Construction could start first with a new American Legion Bridge late next year if all goes according to the state’s plan.