ICC officially opens to traffic Wednesday, Feb. 23, by 6 a.m.; Commuters can try out the ICC for free by bus or car
ANNAPOLIS, MD (February 21, 2011) – Governor Martin O’Malley and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today drove the ceremonial “first car” on Maryland’s Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 and later cut a ribbon to celebrate the completion of the first segment of Maryland’s first all-electronic toll road.
The ICC/MD 200 is an east-west highway connecting Montgomery and Prince George’s counties that has been in the making for more than half a century. The first segment of the ICC that will open to traffic Wednesday morning, Feb. 23, weather depending, connects I-270/I-370 at Shady Grove and MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) in Rockville/Olney.
“After 50 years of planning, opening the ICC means not only progress, but opportunity because the ICC connects two of the State’s premier economic corridors along I-270 and I-95,” said Governor O’Malley.
“For Maryland residents, the ICC is more than just a commuting option. It gives Marylanders the freedom to connect with our communities, our jobs, valuable transit options and safer local roads. But above all, the ICC will give Marylanders back time they can enjoy with their families.”
Citizens are expected to gain immediate benefits and time savings by using the first ICC segment. In fact, it is projected that trip times can be reduced by up to 70 percent. On the existing local road network, traveling from Shady Grove Metro Station to Georgia Avenue takes about 22 minutes. On this first section of the ICC, that same trip should take about 7 minutes.
“The new Intercounty Connector will promote business and employment opportunities in Maryland by improving the mobility of goods and people,” said Secretary LaHood. “It is a terrific example of how a targeted transportation investment can help build for the future and strengthen America’s economic competitiveness.”
An economic catalyst, the $2.56 billion ICC is supporting 4,500 jobs involving more than 200 contractors in its construction alone with $330 million of its construction dollars designated for Disadvantaged Business Enterprise. An independent study by the University of Maryland projects that the ICC, when fully open, will support the development of about 14,000 jobs in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. The study also found the ICC will save Maryland drivers and businesses an estimated $6.7 billion over the next 20 years in time, fuel and wear-and-tear on vehicles.
“The opening of the ICC is another historic achievement that physically links the State’s two largest counties,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “The ICC will help enhance the range of transportation options for our residents and fosters a bold new direction in inter-county cooperation and collaboration in transportation policy.”
The ICC is the “greenest” highway in Maryland’s history, and one of the “greenest” ever built in the nation. More than 15 percent of the project’s budget -- $370 million -- is devoted to mitigating environmental impacts. Going beyond federal mitigation requirements, the ICC has led to stream restoration, hundreds of acres of new wetlands and forest habitat, longer bridges over sensitive streams, innovative storm-water improvements, state-of-the-art construction techniques to limit the road’s footprint and 26 wildlife passages. All-electronic tolling on the ICC helps to maintain free-flowing traffic conditions and improve air quality by eliminating stop-and-go traffic at toll plazas.
Drivers can enter and exit the ICC: at I-370/Shady Grove/Metro Access Road, at MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) and (until the ICC opens to I-95) at a temporary intersection at MD 28 (Norbeck Road).
The ICC is a variably priced toll facility in order to manage congestion and deliver reliable travel times. Motorists can “test drive” the ICC at no charge through March 6. Beginning Monday, March 7, drivers of passenger vehicles and light trucks will pay the following tolls to travel the ICC’s first 5.5-mile tolled segment:
-$1.45 during peak hours Monday to Friday from 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.
-$1.15 during off-peak hours Monday to Friday from 5 to 6 a.m., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
-$0.60 overnight Daily from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
ICC tolls are collected electronically at highway speeds using E-ZPass®. There will be no toll booths or cash toll collection on the ICC. Traveling the ICC without a valid E-ZPass will result in a “Notice of Toll Due” being sent to the registered owner of the vehicle for the cost of the toll. Effective April 6, the notice will include a $3 service charge per one-way trip.
Beginning March 1, two new Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) commuter bus routes begin express service via the ICC. Route 201 provides daily service with seven stops between the Gaithersburg Park & Ride and BWI Marshall Airport, and Route 202 provides weekday peak service with six stops between the Gaithersburg Park & Ride and NSA/Fort Meade. These express bus routes also will provide connections from the Metro Red Line to the MARC Camden and Penn Lines without traveling into the heart of Washington, D.C. From March 1 through March 14, the service will be offered for free to acquaint customers with this transportation option. For more information, visit www.mtaiccbus.com.
When the entire ICC is open to traffic, MTA will add three additional bus routes that will include service from Columbia to Bethesda, Urbana to College Park, and Greenbelt Metro to Germantown Transit Center. These additional routes will provide commuters with a convenient link to reach Metro’s Red and Green Lines and all three MARC Lines – Brunswick, Camden and Penn.
The State Highway Administration (SHA) is managing ICC construction, and the MDTA helped finance, owns, operates and maintains the ICC. The next segment of the ICC, under construction between Georgia Avenue and I-95 near Laurel, is scheduled to be complete in late 2011/early 2012.
For more on ICC operations, visit www.mdta.maryland.gov. To sign up for E-ZPass, visit www.ezpassmd.com.
For more details on the ICC construction project or $370 million environmental program, visit www.iccproject.com.
Dateline for the ICC Opening:
* Wednesday, Feb. 23, by 6:00 a.m.: ICC opens to traffic, weather depending.
* Wednesday, Feb. 23 – Sunday, March 6 at 12 midnight: Test-drive period for cars. No tolls or service charges will be collected.
*Monday, March 1: MTA commuter bus service begins. No bus fares will be collected.
*Monday, March 7, 12:01 a.m.: Toll collection begins.
*Monday, March 7, 12:01 a.m. – Tuesday, April 5, 12 midnight: Waiver of $3 Notice of Toll Due service charge.
*Tuesday, March 15: MTA begins fare collection for commuter bus service.