Maryland’s Department of Transportation will hold an international business forum next month for businesses interested in participating in a project to add lanes to Interstates 270 and 495, while Montgomery County officials told lawmakers last week about their concerns about the project’s potential impacts.
The industry forum is scheduled for Dec. 13 at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport.
The project seeks to reduce congestion on I-270 and I-495 by adding new express toll lanes on I-495 between the American Legion Bridge and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, and on I-270 between I-495 and Interstate 70.
The plan would also add lanes on Md. 295, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway
The state is looking to do the I-495 and I-270 projects through a public-private partnership with developers in the private sector.
Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete K. Rahn will open the forum with welcoming remarks, while State Highway Administrator Greg Slater and P3 Program Director Lisa Choplin will give updates on the I-270 and I-495 P3 program, according to a release from the State Highway Administration.
Slater and Chopin are also scheduled to discuss opportunities for small, disadvantaged, minority- or women-owned business to participate in the project.
Along with the industry forum, Maryland Department of Transportation officials will also hold one-on-one meetings with contractors and other businesses interested in participating in the P3 program. Those meetings will be held on Dec. 13 and 14.
The forum is meant to give industry representatives an overview of the P3 program, an update on the environmental process, an overview of the upcoming solicitation process for the first phase of the program, and talk about opportunities for small, disadvantaged, minority- and women-owned businesses, SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said in an email Tuesday.
The project is currently involved in an environmental study of I-270 between I-495 and Interstate 395 in Gaithersburg, with a study of the rest of the road to I-70 scheduled to begin in 2019.
Meanwhile, members of Montgomery County’s legislative delegation had a meeting with local officials and residents to discuss concerns on a variety of topics before the start of the legislative session in January.
Montgomery County Council President Hans Riemer told the delegation that the county has urged the state to make sure that the project stays within the existing rights of way and doesn’t expand into existing neighborhoods.
“We have long advocated for adding capacity to [Interstate] 270,” Riemer said. “We just feel that there is a right way and a wrong way.”
The county also wants the project to use multiple modes of transportation, he said.
“We don’t feel it’s sufficient to just do a highway investment, that there has to be a major transit component to this program,” Riemer said.
Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said that the town would like to work with them to make sure that any potential widening doesn’t go beyond the existing sound walls.
“And in fact, in my humble opinion and those of my council members, there are better ways that we can move [traffic] through this area than just widening the road,” Newton said.