Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan scaling back plans for Capital Beltway and I-270 widening

Changes are coming to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s plan for widening I-270 and I-495.

Under a new recommendation, there will be two toll lanes added along both north and southbound I-270 between the beltway and the ICC.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Maryland Beltway, 270 widening plan hits a roadblock

But the new recommendation doesn’t mention any change for people heading farther north toward Frederick.

"I know people in my county are going to be really irritated if it stops at the ICC and they can’t get any relief further north," said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.

Elrich is concerned that adding toll lanes, which stop near Rockville or Gaithersburg will create a choke point. 

MORE PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's plan to widen I-270, Beltway approved

He’d rather see reversible lanes for a much longer stretch. 

There are similar concerns about the Beltway for drivers heading east of I-270. 

The plan focuses solely on building a new American Legion Bridge with a brief stretch of new toll lanes on both the Maryland and Virginia side. But no action on the beltway east of the 270 spur toward Silver Spring.

State Delegate David Moon says that, on one hand, he’s thrilled.

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"We were looking at the loss of businesses,  homes," he said.

However, he says those new HOT lanes coming from Virginia, which end at 270 will create a bottleneck, and there needs to be more planning.

"I don’t exactly know how they plan for all of this to work without choking the life out of us on the east side," Moon said.

Hogan today downplayed this scaling back of plans during his press conference saying, "Moving forward it all had to get fixed or it’s not going to do much to solve the traffic but we just want to move forward with the bridge and then move on to the next steps."

Elrich says that, with the Biden administration now in place, he plans to lobby the state to ask for federal funding instead.  

"It’s interstate commerce," Elrich said.

He believes this was a money saving move by the Hogan administration.  

The state did say the recommendation has nothing to do with COVID-19, even though some analysts believe DMV drivers could see the reduction in traffic continue post pandemic with companies adopting teleworking.  

The public will have a chance to weigh in on it all late this summer after an Environmental Impact Statement is released.