Governor Larry Hogan Announces Start of I-270 Interchange Project at Watkins Mill Road
Hogan Administration Provides $98 Million to Improve Mobility Along I-270
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Larry Hogan was today joined by Montgomery County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett, along with local officials and business leaders, to announce the start of construction of the $97.71 million I-270 interchange project at Watkins Mill Road. This major congestion relief project will improve one of Maryland’s most heavily traveled roadways in Montgomery County, benefiting tens of thousands of travelers who drive the I-270 corridor.
“As we kick off construction of the new Watkins Mill interchange, we are delivering a much-needed missing link – a new east-west route across I-270 that improves access to the Metropolitan Grove MARC Station and supports the planned growth and economic development in this region,” said Governor Hogan. “We are making sure Maryland will continue to be open for business, and we are helping the citizens of Montgomery County, and people all across the state, go about their daily lives in a faster, more efficient, and safer manner.”
The 1.25-mile project extends between MD 124 (Montgomery Village Avenue) and the Great Seneca Creek crossing near Game Preserve Road in Gaithersburg. The I-270 Corridor is regionally known as the Technology Corridor, and is home to dozens of thriving businesses and planned development in the Gaithersburg area. Montgomery County contributed $4.9 million for the design and engineering phase of the project.
“I would like to thank Governor Hogan for his attention to I-270, which is not only the ‘spine’ of Montgomery County, but also is the economic engine of the State. The Watkins Mill Interchange project has a long history and we would not be standing here today without the Governor’s and our State Delegation’s strong support and patience. Easing congestion on I-270 and nearby roads will improve the quality of life for so many Montgomery County residents that use this highway every day,” said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. “Furthermore, improving access to I-270 will make our region more attractive for new and expanding businesses, creating new jobs and new opportunities for our region.”
The I-270/Watkins Mill Road interchange will include a new four-lane bridge over I-270, with connecting entry and exit ramps that will provide direct access for interstate travelers. This connection will reduce congestion at the I-270/MD 124 interchange and the MD 124/MD 355 intersection.
To complete the project by summer 2020, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) advertised the project using A+B bidding, an innovative cost plus time approach, ensuring that a cost is assigned to each working day. This ensures that the public impact and construction period are heavily considered as part of the determination for award of the project. Wagman Heavy Civil of York, Pa. will serve as the state’s contractor.
The new interchange will enhance additional economic opportunities for the middle and upcounty areas in Montgomery County. Currently, Watkins Mill Road does not connect visitors and residents to the Gaithersburg Medical Center, Metropolitan Grove MARC Station, Montgomery County Police Department, homes, and businesses. Drivers on either side of I-270 must use MD 117 (Clopper Road), MD 355 (Frederick Avenue), or MD 124 (Quince Orchard Road) to reach these areas.
Additional work as part of the project includes resurfacing the I-270 collector/distributor lanes and a section of Watkins Mill Road, constructing retaining walls, extensive stream restoration, and construction of culverts and drainage structures.
Today’s announcement by Governor Hogan follows MDOT SHA’s winning bid announcement for a $100 million Innovative Congestion Management congestion relief project designed to save commuters up to 30 minutes on their commute between I-70 and I-495. Between the two projects, nearly $200 million has been committed to improving mobility along the corridor.