|Council News - Press Releases & Statements
Montgomery Council President Berliner, Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chair Bulova Ask Maryland, Virginia for Beltway Improvements Around American Legion Bridge
- Release ID: 12-164
- Release Date: 9/18/2012
- Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939
or Delphine Harriston240-777-7931
- From: Council Office
| ROCKVILLE, Md., September 18, 2012—Calling the Capital Beltway between the Dulles Access Road in Virginia and the I-270 West Spur in Maryland “one of the most congested highways in the Washington Metropolitan Area,” Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner and Fairfax Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova today jointly wrote to the respective transportation secretaries of Maryland and Virginia seeking action to improve Interstate 495 on the American Legion Bridge and its approaches.
The legislative leaders of the two largest counties in the metropolitan area wrote that they were concerned that with the Beltway’s High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes scheduled to open soon, there is no planned action to provide an exclusive connection for carpools, vanpools, and buses on the Beltway between the northern terminus of the HOT lanes and the I-270 West Spur (the southern terminus of the I-270 HOV lanes):
“In order to maximize the potential of the existing HOV lanes and imminent HOT lanes, we request that the two DOTs work together to provide a plan for connectivity for this 7-mile segment that would go into operation as soon as practical.”
The legislative leaders reached this conclusion following an extensive set of briefings and discussion of this issue at a joint meeting of Councilmembers and Supervisors on July 25. It was the first-ever meeting between Montgomery and Fairfax elected officials on this issue.
“I am pleased with the renewed spirit of cooperation between Fairfax and Montgomery and the joint recognition that, together, we must improve transit options and overall connectivity between our borders,” said Council President Berliner. “While Montgomery and Fairfax Counties will continue to lead this effort, we hope our respective states will take the necessary steps to improve this vital corridor for the region and improve the quality of life for residents of both jurisdictions.”
“I am greatly pleased by this cooperation between Fairfax and Montgomery and this joint recognition that we must improve connectivity between our borders to help address many types of problems shared by jurisdictions around the Beltway,” said Council President Berliner. “With Montgomery and Fairfax taking leadership in this regard, we are taking an important step to show how we can improve the quality of life for our counties by working together.”
“With the completion of the Beltway Express Lanes later this year, we absolutely must pursue opportunities to facilitate travel between our two Counties,” said Chair Bulova. “Fairfax County is excited about introducing new cross-county express bus service in the soon-to-be-completed lanes. Providing car pool and transit options between Fairfax and Montgomery Counties would be a great benefit for our residents and commuters.”
The complete text of their letter to Darrell B. Mobley, Acting Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, and Sean T. Connaughton, Secretary of Virginia Department of Transportation, is as follows:
Darrell B. Mobley, Acting Secretary Sean T. Connaughton, Secretary
Maryland Department of Transportation Virginia Department of Transportation
7201 Corporate Center Drive 1111 East Broad Street, Room 3054
Hanover, Maryland 21076 Richmond, Virginia 23219
Dear Secretary Connaughton and Acting Secretary Mobley:
The Capital Beltway between the Dulles Access Road in Virginia and the I-270 West Spur in Maryland is one of the most congested highways in the Washington Metropolitan Area. On July 25 members of our two elected bodies met to be briefed on the current and future congestion on this segment of the Beltway, the several mid- and long-term options identified in your West Side Mobility Study, and opportunities to restore express Metrobus service between activity centers in our two counties. Representatives from your respective departments provided some of these briefings and answered questions, and we appreciate their involvement.
Our concern is that with the Beltway High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes scheduled to open soon, there are no plans to provide a connection on the Beltway between the northern terminus of the HOT lanes and the I-270 West Spur (the southern terminus of the I-270 HOV lanes). Lacking that connection will leave a 7-mile gap with no priority for buses, carpools, and vanpools. In order to maximize the potential of the existing HOV lanes and imminent HOT lanes, we request that the two DOTs work together to provide a plan for connectivity for this 7-mile segment that would go into operation as soon as practical. Recognizing that it will not be possible to add new capacity for this segment in the short-term, we urge you to review options for peak hour use of shoulders as exclusive bus lanes or opening the shoulder for general purpose traffic and establishing an HOV lane in the outside lane during peak periods, similar to I-66. We understand that this will be a difficult task in such a short period of time, but the urgency of implementing at least an interim solution is obvious to us.
We look forward to hearing from you periodically as your departments develop an action plan to advance an interim solution. We are also anxious to hear the results of the evaluation of mid- and long-term improvements, which we understand will be ready by the end of the year.
Sharon Bulova, Chair Roger Berliner, President
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Montgomery County Council
cc: The Honorable Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia
The Honorable Martin O’Malley, Governor of Maryland
The Honorable Isiah T. Leggett, Montgomery County Executive
Members, Montgomery County Delegation
Members, Montgomery County Council
Members, Fairfax County Delegation to the General Assembly
Members, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Richard Sarles, General Manager, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority