As part of an ongoing state road infrastructure improvement initiative, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) rolled out $461 million in traffic-relief projects for the Baltimore area. The Dec. 19 announcement calls for adding lanes to 27 miles of highway to alleviate congestion on the northern portion of the Baltimore Beltway, or Interstate 695, and Interstate 95.
The three design-build projects announced on Dec. 19 include:
- A $151-million project to relieve congestion on both the inner and outer loops of I-695, from I-70 to MD 43, by converting the inside shoulder into a new lane of traffic. The project also will deploy adaptive ramp metering technologies to help relieve congestion along approximately 19 miles of the reconfigured roadway.
- A $100-million project that will design and construct a new configuration for the I-695 and I-70 interchange, known as the “triple bridges.” The Maryland Dept. of Transportation says this project will “directly addresses six of the top-15 congested road segments in the state.”
- A $210-million extension of the northbound I-95 express toll lanes for a nearly eight-mile stretch, from north of MD 43 in Baltimore County to MD 24 in Harford County.
The projects would increase the state's investment in transportation projects in the Baltimore area to $7 billion, according to MDOT. Hogan said in a statement that the projects "will benefit the daily lives of millions of drivers throughout the Baltimore region. These exciting new projects are the latest addition to our administration’s ongoing and continued efforts to transform transportation infrastructure in and around Baltimore."
Construction could begin in summer 2018, according to MDOT.
The projects were announced four months after Hogan called for a $9-billion plan to add toll lanes to three major highways in the region, including a $7.6-billion public-private partnership for the Capital Beltway and I-270 expansions. Requests for information from private firms interested in submitting proposals for the project—slated to be the largest highway P3 to date in North America, according to state officials—were due on Dec. 20.
In September, Hogan also announced a $1.4-billion project to add four new lanes to the entire length of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, or MD 295, from Baltimore to Washington. The state currently is negotiating with the U.S. Dept. of the Interior to transfer ownership of the parkway to the Maryland Transportation Authority.
"Using practical design and innovation, Maryland is laser-focused on delivering the best transportation network in the nation," Maryland Transportation Secretary Peter Rahn said in a statement.
MDOT says the state has the second-longest commuting times in the country. The National Capital Region is the most congested region in the nation, based on annual delay and congestion cost per auto commuter, it adds.
MDOT State Highway Administrator Greg Slater noted in the statement that "an unprecedented number of projects getting executed across Maryland [will provide] real solutions for the Baltimore Beltway."