Maryland's new ICC has first build contract awarded

March 29, 2007
Maryland's Inter County Connector (ICC) tollroad will begin serious construction shortly with the award of the first design-build contract. Contract A, as it is called, worth $479m will build a segment of the 2x3 lane expressway from the western end on the small I-370 off I-270 in Gaithersburg eastward about 11.3km (7 miles) to just over Georgia Avenue (MD97).

The project involves reconstruction and widening of about a mile (1.6km) of the existing I-370 stub and 10km (6mi) of new road and four interchanges. Builders are a joint venture of Granite (CA-based), Corman (MD) and Wagman (PA). Four other contracts are in process for the remainder of the 30km (18.8 mile) $2.4b project which crosses I-95 and ends at US1 in Laurel.

Granite and partners are due to finish their segment by late 2010. Other contracts are being let to allow completion of the whole road by 2012.

Contract C will be let next - 6.1km (3.8 miles) from west of US29 over I-95 and including three major interchanges and 3km (1.9 miles) of collector distributor lanes on I-95 south of the ICC and linking in to the ICC/I-95 interchange.

Contract B will follow filling the gap between A and C MD97 to US29, 11.2km (7mi) with two more interchanges.

Contract D will widen I-95 northward from its junction with the ICC for 5km (3 miles) adding 2 collector-distributor lanes each direction to the 2x4 lane expressway to make it 12 lanes total.

Contract E is the smallest left to last - 1.4km (0.9mi) of transition from 2x3 lane expressway to 2x2 lane surface arterial to connect to US1.

The ICC was championed two governors back by Parris Glendening and taken to EIS stage, but Glendening moved against the project having announced his conversion to environmentalism. He attempted to kill the road, moving to sell right of way, but was blocked by his predecessor William Douglas Schaffer, then state comptroller.

The road was strongly supported by Montgomery County executive Doug Duncan (Dem) who won a smashing election victory lambasting the "congestion coalition" that opposed the road and ousting them from a blocking majority on the county council.

The ICC was then championed by the governor Robert Ehrlich (Repub) who won election in 2002 largely by promising to get construction started in his first term. Under his administration there was a major push to detail the route to gain local support and to obtain federal permits. Ground was ceremonially broken.

Dem O'Malley pledged support

The Democrat who defeated Ehrlich in the last election, Michael O'Malley pledged support for the project also and is quoted today in an announcement as saying: "It's time to get to work...we are moving forward with the ICC."

The ICC has been developed by the Maryland State Highway Administration which is also managing construction. The Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) will issue toll revenue bonds for a portion of the cost and state tax monies and GARVEE bonds (mortgaging future taxes) will also be used.

In a first for a tollroad construction has started before a traffic and revenue study has been finalized. The project is only relying on tolls for topup funding.

All-electronic tolling - transponder and video tolling

Tolling will be all electronic by transponder and cameras, with no cash collection. ACS is doing the toll systems and will operate the toll system as part of its umbrella contract with MdTA.

The project has overwhelming popular support in Montgomery County where it is mainly located. There is no half decent east west road in the 900k pop county north of the Capital Beltway (I-495).

Environmentalist groups including the USEPA however fought it tenaciously. (Is there any road they would ever build?)

TOLLROADSnews 2007-03-29

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