Maryland passes procedural step for I-495, I-270, Baltimore-Washington Parkway widening project

The Maryland Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to approve a $90 million public-private partnership for a study on Gov. Larry Hogan's plan to widen Interstate 270, Interstate 495 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.

The vote, which passed the board with two votes and one abstention, is the first step with moving forward with the plan aimed at reducing congestion on Maryland highways by adding four lanes on each thoroughfare.

Hogan's office says the project will "dramatically improve our state highway system and traffic in the region."

A 2017 study by INRIX, a company that specialized in transportation analytics, says commuters in the D.C. area spend 61 hours a year in congestion, which costs approximately $1,700 per driver annually.

The project will reportedly include two toll lanes on I-270. The extra lanes will be between I-495 and Frederick. The Beltway will see new lanes between the American Legion Bridge and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

Groups opposing the widening project believe it wrongly focuses on highways and ignores public transit, will cost too much and may threaten homes during the process.

Maryland Department of Transportation officials have said no homes would be overtaken for the widening project.

Construction is expected to begin in 2020.