Maryland Beltway Project Tentatively Moves Forward

The state transit authority has granted preliminary approval to the revised plan to expand the Capital Beltway and add new high-occupancy and toll lanes.

June 21, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

"The Maryland Transit Authority Board granted preliminary approval Tuesday to an amended project that will expand the Beltway around the American Legion Bridge" and "add two high-occupancy toll managed lanes in each direction on the bridge from I-270 to I-370 in the northern region," writes Dominique Maria Bonessi for DCist. "The project would also expand a 12-mile stretch on I-270 from the American Legion Bridge through Gaithersburg. Unlike previous iterations of the Beltway expansion plan, the current proposal does not include the eastern portions of the Beltway in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties."

After releasing a draft Environmental Impact Assessment last year, the agency scaled back the project in May 2021 after "months of opposition from local officials, residents and environmental advocates." The proposal "thas faced numerous criticisms in recent years, as the project worked through its draft environmental impact statement and went out to bid," including "concerns about uncertain environmental impacts, a lack of transit plans in the project, and the potential failure of another public-private partnership."

Director of the Maryland Department of Transportation and chair of the transit board Greg Slater "told board members in a virtual meeting that the current project does not displace any properties, exists mostly within its current footprint, and increases the throughput of cars in 2045 by up to 50%."

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