In response to the letter from Irene and Milton Weidler {Maryland Weekly, Sept. 13}, the Inter-County Connector freeway as the state of Maryland and Montgomery County propose to build it is a planning and environmental nightmare of the highest order. In its most recent preferred ("Modified G") alignment, this freeway would destroy hundreds of acres of wetland and parkland and would render many hundreds more unfit for recreational use. The ICC also would abet continued overdevelopment around planned interchanges of the type advocated and promoted by our lame-duck county executive and his ousted allies in Montgomery County's government.

A brief examination of the ICC's preferred right-of-way where it crosses Needwood (Rock Creek) Park, Lake Needwood and Rock Creek, is an instructive, but not unique, example of the type of "planning" that has served to turn this freeway into such an environmental mess. For the right-of-way alone, the ICC would cut a swath 300 feet wide for more than a mile through Rock Creek Park. This taking of parkland involves extensive construction that runs parallel to the Mill Creek tributary of Rock Creek, the building of two bridges (800 feet long) at the upper end of Lake Needwood and then the digging of a ditch that would be almost 300 feet wide and 40 feet deep.

What makes this "plan" all the more tragic and ironic is that documents, issued by the Maryland State Highway Administration itself in 1979, identified this right-of-way as inflicting "maximum adverse impact on parkland, wetland and floodplain." That finding -- of "maximum adverse impact" -- was incorporated into formal documents approved by the Federal Highway Administration in 1982. Objections to this route have been reiterated over and over by the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Maryland State Department of Conservation and scores of citizens' and environmental groups from the time the ICC was in its earliest planning stages. It was in the face of all this criticism that Maryland Secretary of Transportation E. Slade Caltrider, in 1984, designated "Modified G" as the alignment of choice for the ICC! This isn't planning; it's just plain dumb.

Federal and state conservation and environmental agencies have remained consistently and uniformly critical of the ICC's route for a decade; it is no eleventh-hour "surprise," sprung upon road builders by overzealous federal officials.

The projections of need for the ICC are based upon 15-year-old data; new projections are needed that take the 1980 and 1990 censuses into account. Anticipated ICC traffic projections for the year 2010, are much lower than the capacity of the freeway being designed.

The Maryland State Highway Administration and Montgomery County already have expended millions upon millions of dollars "planning" the ICC, acquiring right-of-way, and attempting (for the past seven years) to publish an acceptable federal final environmental impact study. All expenditures, except those relating to preparing of a new environmental impact study, should cease.