BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Three major Maryland thoroughfares that drivers have been complaining about for years may be widened thanks to a $9 billion traffic relief plan announced by Governor Larry Hogan’s office Thursday.
Making good on the promise to improve some of the worst traffic congestion in the state, Hogan’ administration plans to add new lanes to I-270, I-495 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
The plans calls for four new lanes at each of these major highways, which are some of the most heavily traveled roadways in all of Maryland.
Part of the plans also call for new express toll lanes on these expanded highways.
Drivers say if it helps cut down on commutes, they’re all for it.
Governor Hogan says hes well aware of the horrific traffic conditions that has plagued them for years, which is why he says the work to change that starts now.
“These three massive, unprecedented projects to widen 495, 270, and 295, will be absolutely transformative,” Hogan said. “All of which will provide from the traffic congestion that has plagued Marylanders for so many years.”
The so-called Traffic Relief Plan calls for 270’s four lanes to go from the Capital Beltway to Frederick, while 495’s lanes will go from the American Legion Bridge to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and 295’s ownership will transfer from the U.S. Department of the Interior, to the Maryland Transportation Authority.
The governor’s plan acknowledges that Maryland has the second longest commuting time in the country, and some drivers WJZ’s George Solis spoke with are inclined to agree, and say they can’t wait for this expansion.
“It’s going to help my commute, cut it down,” one driver said.
While others are cautiously optimistic.
“It’s at least an attempt to solve the problem, which I appreciate the thought process,” another driver said.
Hogan’s office is calling it the Traffic Relief Plan largest public-private partnership plan in North America.
“Today’s announcement officially begins the process to solicit the Public-Private Partnership (P3) industry for input and solutions to provide major congestion relief to these key transportation routes,” a release says.
“With the total project estimated value at $9 billion, the P3 portion to add four new lanes on both I-495 and I-270 is the largest proposed P3 highway project in North America. The P3 will be seeking private developers to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain new lanes on I-495 between the American Legion Bridge and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and on I-270 between I-495 and I-70. Once completed, the Traffic Relief Plan will deliver new express toll lanes, in addition to existing lanes, on I-495, I-270, and MD 295.”
The governor says he plans to fund these expansion through private-public partnerships