Metropolitan Washington’s regional transportation planning agency today voted to move forward with long-debated plans to connect two of the region’s most traveled highways.
A divided vote by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) adds funds for planning, protective and hardship right-of-way for the Inter County Connector project (ICC) to the board’s Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). The proposed 20-mile connector would link I-270 and I-95 in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. Funding for the initial assessment phase for connecting the two highways includes activities such as:
- Identifying the appropriate type of facility
- Assessing impacts upon adjacent properties
- Developing cost estimates
- Preparing an Environmental Impact Statement
- Involving citizen and permitting agencies
- Undertaking preliminary engineering studies to support a sound environmental decision
The approval follows a request by the Maryland Department of Transportation to replace the existing East-West Link Improvements project with the Connector project. The ICC will follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, through which the public and government agencies assess projects in terms of their potential impacts on the community and environment. Construction of the ICC depends upon successful completion of the NEPA process and selection of an alternative.