Intercounty Connector opening delayed

By Maria Glod
Monday, February 21, 2011; 1:17 PM

The planned opening of the first stretch of the Intercounty Connector was delayed until 6 a.m. Wednesday after forecasters predicted a wintry mix of rain, sleet and snow that authorities said was likely to stall last-minute work on the toll road.

The 7.2 mile segment -- which links Interstate 270 in Gaithersburg and Norbeck Road, just east of Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring -- had been scheduled to open Tuesday morning.

"For safety and logistical reasons, we need to push the opening of the ICC about 24 hours," Acting Maryland Transportation Authority Executive Secretary Harold Bartlett said in a statement. "There is transition work that must take place overnight before we can open the ICC and that work cannot take place in wet or icy conditions."

"We appreciate motorists' understanding that we also need Mother Nature's cooperation in this," Bartlett said. He said crews would need to work overnight to adjust traffic patterns on adjacent highways to open the ICC.

Tolls on the first stretch, which will be collected beginning March 7 after a two-week free period, will range from 60 cents to $1.45 for passenger vehicles, depending on the time of day.

The controversial new toll road eventually will be 18.8 miles and connect Interstate 270 in Montgomery County with Interstate 95 in Prince George's county.

The ICC will be Maryland's first toll road with no toll booths.Tolls will be collected electronically via E-ZPass transponders. Motorists without transponders will receive a "Notice of Toll Due" in the mail.

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