Several area highways to get face lifts

September 26, 1994|By Capital News Service

Highways and transit routes will get major face lifts in Frederick, Montgomery and Prince George's counties under an improvement plan approved last week.

A long-range plan from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board lists projects and strategies that would be put into effect by 2020.

The decision Wednesday to approve the plan -- which also included road improvements for Disney's 3,000-acre park and real estate development in Northern Virginia -- did not come without debate.

"How can we say we're cutting down on pollution when this plan will continue to encourage the use of automobiles?" asked Rodney Roberts, a board representative from Greenbelt. "There's too much stress on highways and not enough on light rail."

The major project in Frederick County would include widening Interstate 70 to six lanes near Frederick.

The I-70 project will cost $13.6 million and will be completed by 1997, said Peter King, a board member from College Park.

In Montgomery County, the U.S. 29 project will receive a $1.6 million bridge lane widening at New Hampshire Avenue by next year, Mr. King said. An intersection upgrade and lane widening where University Boulevard meets U.S. 29 is included. It will be completed next year at a cost of $7.3 million, he said.

For Prince George's County, the planning board approved widenings for Routes 450, 214 and 5.

On Route 450 from Forbes Boulevard to state Route 193, four- to six-lane widenings will cost $32.9 million, Mr. King said. They will be completed by 1996.

State Route 214 will see a widening to four lanes from east of Route 193 to west of U.S. Highway 301, costing $8.1 million, Mr. King said. It will be completed by 1997.

Three interchange constructions and one widening along state Route 5 will cost $81.4 million, Mr. King said. The projects will be completed before 1997, he said.

The board also agreed to study improvements for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which spans the Potomac River from Alexandria to Prince George's County, and to consider construction of the Intercounty Connector. The connector could link I-270 in Gaithersburg to Route 1 in Laurel.

The board also agreed to:

* Study the possible need for High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on the Capital Beltway; I-270 from Clarksburg to Frederick; the Intercounty Connector; state Route 4 outside the Beltway; and state Route 5 and U.S. 301 from the Beltway to Charles County. HOV lanes on I-270 from the Beltway to Clarksburg will be completed next year at a cost of $81.6 million, the plan said.

* Construct by 2010 a Metro station in Largo and a light rail line between Bethesda and Silver Spring.

* Study the feasibility of a light-rail service from the Grosvenor Metro Station to Montgomery Mall.

Because the plan is long-range, each project is subject to changes, Mr. King said.

Federal and state sources are expected to fund 70 percent of the improvement plan while city and county governments, transit fares and individuals are expected to provide the rest. The board's vote came after two years of study.

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