The Maryland State Highway Administration announced plans last week to spend more than $273 million on road design, planning and construction in Prince George's and Montgomery counties in the next six years.
Major projects in the proposal include the resurfacing of the Woordrow Wilson Bridge, reconstruction of the Indian Head Highway and I-495 interchange and the continuation of a controversial study on the need for an Inter-County Connector freeway from Rockville to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.
The proposals were included in the 1980 budget recommended by the State Highway Administration to state and county elected officials at meetings last week. Several officials were quick to point out notable absences in the highway plan and questioned the inclusion of other projects.
"There is no question the state should have the privilege of establishing priorities on primary roads," State Sen. Jack Garrity (D.-22) told SHA administrator Slade Caltrider. "But the delegates and the counties should have control on the secondary roads."
Garrity was particulary miffed over a "slippage" on work for the widening of East-West Highway from 61st Place in Riverdale to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. The project has been in the design process since 1971 and is not scheduled for construction until sometime after the six-year plan.
Another high priority project being ignored by the SHA, according to Prince George's politicians, is the widening of Central Avenue to Rte. 301. When one state senator asked why no money was provided for construction of the road in the six-year program, Caltrider replied, "It's just indecision on the part of the SHA."
But there are also roads the state wants to build that the politicians would rather see remain as they are. The plan includes $668,000 for further study of the Inter-County Connector, one of the last remnants of an earlier plan to build an outer-beltway in the Metropolitan area. And while Caltrider assured both delegations that the state was "only committed to a study" for the road, Del. Kay Bienan (D.-21) said, "We are opposed to it now and we have been. That's why we took the outer beltway proposal out of plans years ago."
Prince George's County Council member Frank Casula, who represents the Laurel area which is expected to be affected by the proposed highway from the Rockville area to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, told Caltrider, "You know you're going to have some opposition from our area."
And while delegates and city officials from the Rockville area said the highway "would preserve the City of Rockville" and was "unanimously supported by the group," Delegate-elect Robin Ficker (R-15B) said residents of his area near Potomac are opposed to the plan. The plan also includes a proposed highway around Rockville and a freeway-type road to the Shady Grove Metro station.
Caltrider told the Montgomery County group that "rumblings" of opposition from Price George's County may sculle to Inter-County Connector project.
The proposals for Montgomery and Prince George's counties are part of a $16-billion, 6-year roads proposal for the entire state and are a result of legislation passed this year to provide a comprehensive inventory and planning document for the state highway system.
According to the legislation, elected officials within the areas affected by the road proposals can request deletions of specific projects. Any recommendations made by the officials will be included in the total budget proposal presented to the General Assembly in January.
Major work projects scheduled for Montgomery County in 1980.
Study of the Inter-County Connector from Rockville to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, the Metro connector to Shady Grove Metro station and a Rockville highway.
Study of proposed interchange for I-270 and Falls Road.
Reconstruction of the American Legion Memorial Bridge at Cabin John and I-495.
Construction of noise buffers along I-495 and Georgia Avenue.
Study of widening Frederick Avenue from Summit Avenue to Brooks Avenue in Rockville.
Design of a one-way street system in Bethesda using Montgomery Avenue and East-West Highway.
Design, right-of-way acquisition and construction of Maryland Rte. 198 (Sandy Spring Road) from U.S. 29 to I-95.
Construction of Georgia Avenue from Norbeck Road to Olney.
Major work projects scheduled for Prince George's County in 1980.
Resurfacing of the Wodrow Wilson Bridge on I-495.
Design for reconstruction of intersection at I-495 and Maryland Rte. 210.
Reconstruction of I-495 and Rte. 414 interchange.
Study of conversion of Baltimore Washington Parkway into six-lane highway.
Design for Cabin Branch Interchange and Rte. 50 near Cheverly.
Reconstruction of Indian Head Highway from Charles County to Old Forte Road near Friendly.
Continuing study on widening Central Avenue in the Largo area.
Construction of Laurel-Bowie Road from Rustic Hill Drive to south of the Amtrak station, which is near New Carrolton.