Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s proposed highway expansion plan raised eyebrows at the auditorium of Seneca Valley High School on Thursday. It was one of eight meetings by the Maryland Department of Transportation discussing the addition of lanes for the I-270 and I-495 highways.
Opponents of the proposed plan stood outside the school, where the meeting was taking place, with signs and information that explained why expanding I-270 and I-495 was a terrible idea. Among the reasons was the pollution car exhaust pipes would cause surrounding homes, noise, money the tolls would cost drivers, and accidents. One of the residents brought up car accidents as a terrifying concern to him and said to a representative from the Maryland Department of Transportation, “More lanes, more accidents.” The representative responded that accidents were caused by congestion and having more lanes would alleviate some of the traffic, thus reducing accidents.
It might reduce accidents, but people whose homes surround the highways are still at risk. Sarah Cotterill whose Silver Spring home is around the highway where the expansion would be is in danger of losing her home she says. “I’ve raised my kids there,” she said, “It’s not just losing a house, the Hogan administration does not seem to grasp that this is going to be devasting to the whole community.”
She took a pause and a deep breath before continuing, “To me, it’s just very sad that this unnecessary project would create more damage where there is no need for it.”
Council Member Hucker also spoke out against the expansion of the I-270 and I-495 and says he thinks it will cause more problems then it will solve. He hopes to sit down the State Highway Administration and manage this “transportation problem” by finding alternatives.