Maryland seeking federal funds to improve American Legion Bridge, reduce Beltway traffic

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore has announced a plan to make improvements along the American Legion Bridge, I-495 and I-270. The state has submitted an application for a federal grant to make the changes.

Moore’s office says the submission advances a critical piece of the administration’s "multimodal enhancements" in the Washington region along the I-495 and I-270 corridors.

"Transportation is not just about physical mobility; it's about quality of life, access and opportunity," said Governor Moore. "The transportation network throughout Maryland and the National Capital Region must be able to get people where they need to go in a timely and reliable manner. Providing long-desired, equitable transportation solutions in the American Legion Bridge and I-270 corridors is critical to eliminating employment barriers, linking more people to high-demand jobs and stimulating local economies."

As part of the administration's Leave No One Behind agenda, Moore emphasized that the changes are meant to help communities, improve transit and multimodal access and spur inclusive economic growth. 

In accordance with Moore’s plan, the Maryland Department of Transportation will make the following improvements: 

  • Transit and Ridesharing: Maryland will advance transit options and transportation demand management enhancements along the American Legion Bridge, I-495 and I-270 corridors. The program will implement strategies such as express bus options in Maryland and connections to Virginia, ridesharing incentives and parallel transportation improvements including MARC Brunswick Line enhancements and Bus Rapid Transit.
  • Transit-Oriented Development: The Maryland Department of Transportation will advance Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) opportunities throughout the corridors. Maryland has previously supported TOD planning and implementation efforts throughout the WMATA Metrorail system. As part of this program, Maryland will look to accelerate investment in key corridor TOD projects to unlock new developments that create sustainable and inclusive communities.
  • Phased Approach to Managed Lanes: Implementation of managed lanes will be phased, with the American Legion Bridge, I-495 to the I-270 West Spur, and the I-270 West Spur being the focus for initial implementation. The section from the I-270 West Spur to I-370, including through the City of Rockville, will be addressed in a later phase. This phasing will allow for a rational and fiscally prudent phased development.
  • A Comprehensive Planning Strategy for I-270: Maryland will launch a formal environmental study to identify the transportation needs of I-270 North of the Intercounty Connector/MD 200, consider a range of concepts including transit and transportation demand management, and evaluate multimodal approaches for near-term implementation and construction.
  • Engagement on Delivery Method: Maryland will engage the public on the potential implementation of the managed lanes as a publicly funded and delivered project.

"Listening to communities, officials, business leaders and stakeholders is fundamental to understand the needs of those who travel the American Legion Bridge, I-495 and I-270 every day," said Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul J. Wiedefeld. "Today, and for future generations, we must work as partners to create a balanced, multimodal network that provides transportation options across jurisdictional lines and across all modes."

Moore’s office says the state is continuing to pursue additional federal grants to fund this project

State officials will also be holding open houses in Frederick and Montgomery counties in the fall and winter to get additional input from community members. Those dates and times will be announced in the coming weeks. 

"Today's announcement provides the direction for a comprehensive program for these critical corridors," Maryland State Highway Administrator William Pines said. "We are committed to work with our partners throughout the region to further define transit, transit-oriented development and transportation demand management solutions, alongside strategic highway investments, and determine how best to implement a program aligned with our values and our multimodal vision for the state's transportation system."