“It’s actually a very hot day, but a very cool announcement we’re here for,” said Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland (R).
Officials from across the state broke-ground Tuesday for what Hogan calls “a much-needed missing link” in Gaithersburg.
“This is a project that’s essential to the future of the city,” said Mayor Jud Ashman, Gaithersburg.
It’s one of several construction projects aimed at alleviating Interstate-270 congestion, which got the green-light after the dubbed “Roadkill Bill” was repealed in the last legislative session.
“We had crumbling roads, bridges and the worst traffic congestion in the nation; some of the worst of that traffic was right here in Montgomery County,” said Gov. Hogan.
At $98 million in construction costs, the Watkins Mill Road Interchange Project is a essentially a two-part addition.
First, is a four-lane ramp over I-270.
“Think about it this way: When the Watkins Mill Interchange is in place, the folks that live here will be able to get over to Gaithersburg without actually having to get on I-270,” said Greg Slater, State Highway Administrator.
Second, is the additional entry and exit points for I-270.
“What you’ll have is a full movement access interchange, where you can get on and off I-270 and on and off MD-124 at the same time,” said Slater.
Work will begin in August and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2020, which is actually earlier than initially projected.
State Highway Administration officials said the I-270 Corridor will be under construction at the same time, so most of the crews will blend together, but additional traffic should still be anticipated.
“The roads are going to be tremendously improved when we get done, but it is a problem while you’re building them,” said Gov. Hogan. “We have to take every precaution to make things go as smoothly as possible, but there’s a transition period that will be difficult.”
Montgomery County contributed just under $5 million to the project.