WBALTV.com reported that the first section of the Intercounty Connector (ICC) is scheduled to open Feb. 22. The ICC, to be called Maryland Route 200, is designed to link Interstate 95 with Interstate 270 in Gaithersburg, directly connecting Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. Traveling to and from Baltimore via the ICC is estimated to save commuters 20 minutes either way. The first section will extend from I-270 to Route 97.
Project coordinators reported that environmental issues made construction for this particular section of the ICC challenging. Bridges had to be raised in some areas while roads were lowered in other areas to protect wetlands along the initial 7 mile stretch of the 17.9 mile ICC.
The ICC will be the most technologically advanced highway in the state with toll collection that will be completely electronic. Drivers with E-Z Passes can go through the tolls at highway speeds, thus avoiding the backups seen on other state highways where drivers must slow down for the electronic toll devices to read their passes or to pay cash tolls. The tolls will vary based on the time of day and those who pass through the toll point without an E-Z Pass will have their license plates scanned and will be sent a bill.
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) will also be starting two new bus lines beginning March 1 that will use the ICC to transport commuters from Montgomery County to the National Security Agency, Fort Meade and BWI Marshall Airport. ICC officials said they are on schedule to open the entire road by the end of this year or the beginning of 2012.