A spokesman for the Intercounty Connector construction said Tuesday that Maryland highway officials have no plans to restore a second turn lane to northbound Georgia Avenue at Norbeck Road, saying they still do not see the traffic back-ups that residents continue to complain about.
Residents in Olney, Rockville and northern Silver Spring say the reduction of the two left turn lanes to one since late March has led to lengthy back-ups during the afternoon rush, as vehicles wait to turn left from northbound Georgia to westbound Norbeck. State officials have said they converted the second left turn lane into a through lane to keep traffic moving to the nearby ICC entrance farther north on Georgia.
“We’re not anticipating making any changes there in the near future,” said Ray Feldmann, a spokesman for the ICC project. “A second left turn lane isn’t warranted based on what we’re seeing.”
Feldmann said state officials monitored the intersection late last week and found that vehicles cleared the single left turn lane within one light cycle almost every time. Because of changes to signal timing and new lanes added in other directions, Feldmann said, the intersection is functioning better overall than before the first segment of the ICC opened in late February.
Community leaders said they were never told Georgia would lose a left-turn lane to provide an additional through lane.
Matt Zaborsky, president of the Greater Olney Civic Association, which represents nearly 10,000 homes, said the community feels “misled” and like it’s “not being heard.” He said they will continue to write to state lawmakers and the county council urging that the second turn lane be restored.
“The bottom line is they’ve made a mistake,” Zaborsky said off ICC planners, “and they’re not willing to admit that.”