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Intercounty Connector Is Ready For Rush Hour

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJZ) — It first hit the drawing boards 50 years ago. Now, the first half of the Intercounty Connector is ready for rush hour.

Alex DeMetrick reports rush hour is when the ICC will be making most of its money in tolls.

The first 5.5-miles of the Intercounty Connector is finished, linking Interstate 370 with Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County.  But the ICC’s only traffic Monday was made up of people headed for the ribbon cutting.

The ICC opens to traffic on Wednesday. About 21,000 cars a day are expected.

“The new ICC stretch cuts the drive from Shady Grove Metro to Georgia Avenue from 22 minutes to — get this — just seven minutes,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

“During the peak travel times, the toll rate is $1.45, during off-peak it’s $1.15 and during the overnight periods it will be $.60,” said Cheryl Sparks, Maryland Transportation Authority spokesperson. 

By the time the $2.5 billion connector finishes in Prince George’s County, 4,500 jobs will have built it.

“It kept us busy for the last three years alone,” said Robert Sedjarshad, construction worker.

Not that everyone sees the road as progress.

“This road is an abomination,” said a protestor.  “Deforestation, wetlands removed, streams and creeks.”

The Intercounty Connector’s planners claim newly planted trees, stream restoration and dedicated wetlands make it the greenest highway in Maryland history.

The Intercounty Connector is an east-west highway connecting Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. It will be Maryland’s first all-electronic toll road.

The first section of the ICC opens Wednesday at 6 a.m.  No tolls will be charged for the first two weeks.

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