MDOT SHA, FHWA Remind Public to Submit Comments by Phone, Email, Mail or Online
BALTIMORE, MD (November 23, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are reminding the public there is one week remaining to submit comments for the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS). The public can submit comments on the SDEIS through 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
The SDEIS was published October 1, 2021, following more than three years of study, analysis and public involvement under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). A 45-day comment period was originally provided. However, considering input and requests, MDOT SHA and FHWA extended the comment period to 60 days.
Prior to providing comments, the public is encouraged to review the online presentation and copy of the SDEIS available at OpLanesMD.com/SDEIS. Hard copies of the SDEIS and electronic copies of the SDEIS technical reports also are available for review at multiple library locations in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, as well as one in Fairfax County, Va., and one in Washington, D.C. For a list of these locations, please visit OpLanesMD.com/SDEIS.
To comment on the SDEIS, stakeholders may provide verbal testimony by dialing 855-432-1483 and leaving a single voicemail message limited to three minutes. In addition, those interested in providing written comments may:
Jeffrey T. Folden, P.E., DBIA
Director, I-495 & I-270 P3 Office
Maryland Department of Transportation
State Highway Administration
707 North Calvert St.
Mail Stop P-601
Baltimore, MD 21202
Following the 60-day public comment period, MDOT SHA and FHWA will consider comments received and will respond to substantive comments on both the SDEIS and DEIS in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Comments received or postmarked after the close of the comment period will be reviewed and considered to the extent practicable.
The SDEIS presents results relevant to Alternative 9 – Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370, which was identified in May 2021 by FHWA and MDOT SHA as the Preferred Alternative under the Managed Lanes Study.
While the Managed Lanes Study considers ways to relieve congestion and improve trip reliability, mobility and connectivity for all modes of travel in the National Capital Region – including transit – the Preferred Alternative focuses on replacing the 60-year-old American Legion Bridge and delivering two high occupancy toll (HOT) managed lanes in each direction within Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370. The SDEIS builds upon the analysis and information in the existing Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) but is limited to providing new information about the Preferred Alternative.
On I-495, Phase 1 South consists of adding two new HOT managed lanes in each direction from the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Fairfax County, Va., to east of MD 187, Old Georgetown Road. On I-270, Phase 1 South consists of converting the one existing HOV lane in each direction to a HOT managed lane and adding one new HOT managed lane in each direction from I-495 to north of I-370, and on the I-270 east and west spurs. Transit buses, motorcycles and HOV 3+ vehicles – those carrying three or more people – would be permitted to use the managed lanes toll free. All existing general-purpose lanes across the American Legion Bridge to I-270 and north on I-270 to I-370 would remain, and would be free for use by all motorists. There is no action, or no improvements, included at this time on I-495 east of the I-270 east spur.
The Preferred Alternative - Phase 1 South in the SDEIS has significantly reduced impacts and shorter limits than the Build Alternatives included in the DEIS and is based largely on the nearly 3,000 comments received from the public and stakeholders as part of the DEIS public hearings and public comment period.
The Managed Lanes Study complements Virginia’s I-495 Northern Extension (495 NEXT) project and the joint Maryland and Virginia I-495 American Legion Bridge Transit/Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Study. The Managed Lanes Study further extends the network of travel options with HOT managed lanes by expanding upon the collective efforts to rebuild the American Legion Bridge. The potential construction of managed lanes in both states represents an opportunity to implement new bus transit service options that take advantage of this infrastructure and provide riders with reliable trip times for travel between the states.
Contact: Terry Owens, MDOT SHA P3 Office – 410-903-7454
From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders. MDOT SHA maintains more than 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland’s 23 counties.