The Prince George's County government has said a new Wilson Bridge and widening Route 450 are its top two construction priorities for the new millennium. At the same time, it wants planning to proceed on six other highway projects.
The list, which updates a 1997 version, is being forwarded to Maryland state Sen. Arthur Dorman (D-Beltsville), chairman of the Transportation Oversight Committee, a local group, and to state Transportation Secretary John D. Porcari. It represents the combined thinking of the county executive and County Council on the importance of several currently unfunded projects.
The oversight committee is made up of county interest groups and is designed to permit Prince George's lawmakers and others concerned about transportation issues to speak with one voice in Annapolis. Before its creation several years ago, Dorman said, "there was no coordination, and we got zilch, as far as extra money."
The projects on the list, which Dorman's committee is expected to endorse, are intended to boost community revitalization, economic development and Metrorail access, and to provide congestion relief and safety improvements, according to the letter to Porcari. They are "prioritized to provide the greatest benefit to areas inside or adjacent to the Capital Beltway."
The grouping was submitted by County Executive Wayne K. Curry (D) last week to the County Council. The council approved it with one amendment, which moved improvements to Route 50 from Route 410 to South Dakota Avenue over two other items to the top of the list of projects on which the county wants planning to start.
The county's "top regional construction priority," the letter to Porcari said, is the proposed 12-lane Woodrow Wilson Bridge replacement, including new interchanges with Interstate 295 and Route 210. "Full funding for the right-of-way and construction of phases for the remaining unfunded portions of MD 450 is our top local construction priority," covering a stretch from Whitfield Chapel Road, just outside the Beltway, to Stoneybrook Drive, near Route 3.
Other priorities include access improvements to the Branch Avenue Metro station, an access road to the National Harbor project and intersection improvements to the growing Indian Head Highway (Route 210) corridor, to "improve seven failing intersections and implement HOV lanes to relieve existing and projected congestion."
Also on the 14-item construction priority list are better Beltway access to the Greenbelt Metro station, railroad grade separations along Route 450, improving Route 4 interchanges at the Beltway and at Woodyard Road, and constructing a new interchange at Route 301 and Route 197 "to improve safety and relieve congestion in the rapidly developing commercial area."