Residents, local leaders react to Capital Beltway Accord plan

I-270

It's an announcement that transportation leaders in Montgomery County didn't see coming.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Local transportation leaders and residents are reacting to Gov. Hogan (R-MD) and Gov. Northam’s (D-VA) announcement to widen I-495 and the American Legion Bridge.

“We’ll connect our two states with a vastly improved and new American Legion Bridge,” said Hogan when he made the announcement Tuesday.

It’s an announcement that transportation leaders in Montgomery County didn’t see coming.

“We weren’t provided advance notice, this is a project that we’re very involved in,” said Carol Rubin, who’s working to facilitate Montgomery County’s I-495 & I-270 managed lanes study.

The Governors’ Capital Beltway Accord Plan looks to widen lanes on I-495 sooner rather than later.

“That is a major issue for us because of the constraints of the area surrounded by critical natural resources. We’re still trying to get them to look at avoidance techniques,” Rubin said.

She also wants the governors to clarify if the bridge will accommodate transit, like buses and trains. Some local residents like the idea of a more inclusive American Legion Bridge.

Arthur St. Andre, a McLean resident, said “Automobile transportation is a large one, but it’s also railroad, it’s Metro, bicycles. How scooters fit into the picture, who knows?”

The announcement did mention the plan includes adding a pedestrian and bike crossway.

The environmental impact of more cars on the road is a factor that concerns some locals, but so is increasing traffic time and congestion.

“The bridge is so often a choke-point for excessive traffic going in either direction depending on the day of the week and the time of day,” said St. Andre.

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