ICC officials will hold open house on highway's environmental effect

By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 13, 2010; 8:39 PM

Officials overseeing construction of the Intercounty Connector will hold an open house Saturday to highlight efforts to reduce the 18.8-mile highway's environmental impacts and improve areas surrounding it.

The open house will be from 9 a.m. to noon at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, 4545 Ammendale Rd. in Beltsville. A similar event was held in Montgomery County in August.

Project staff will be available to answer questions about $370 million worth of environmental mitigation and stewardship projects, including restoring streams, creating wetlands, installing storm water drainage systems and building sidewalks and trails.

The $2.5 billion toll highway, which is scheduled to open between Gaithersburg and Laurel in phases beginning in fall, was controversial for 50 years, primarily because opponents argued that it would cause too much damage to streams, wetlands, woodlands and wildlife. Maryland highway officials said the road design includes longer bridges over streams, passages to help wildlife cross safely and sophisticated erosion and sediment controls.

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