The $286 billion transportation bill approved recently by the House and Senate includes funding for projects in Southern Maryland, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) said.

Four projects funded at Hoyer's request are the construction of the Hughesville Bypass; the construction of an interchange connecting Routes 5 and 373 and Brandywine Road; the widening of a portion of Chancellor's Run Road (Route 237); and the construction of a wider interchange at Route 4 and Suitland Parkway.

"This funding makes certain that the Hughesville Bypass will be completed, a project that we have long needed to alleviate congestion at the hazardous and accident-prone intersection of Routes 5 and 231," Hoyer said in an announcement released by his office.

"In comparison to other major American cities, the Washington region is doing poorly, and the problem is getting worse -- our traffic patterns are some of the most congested in the entire nation," he added.

The Southern Maryland-related projects include:

* Construction of the Hughesville Bypass along Route 5 (Leonardtown Road), for which Congress appropriated $11 million. This project was identified by the Tri-County Infrastructure Advisory Committee, and recognized by the state, as the second-most-pressing transportation need behind the widening of Route 235 in Lexington Park. The project is aimed at accommodating population growth and expansion at Patuxent River Naval Air Station.

* Chancellor's Run Road (Route 237), $12 million. The two-lane road is narrow and has small shoulders and sharp curves. Residential and commercial growth in the Lexington Park area has led to severe congestion. This funding will cover nearly a third of the cost of upgrading and widening Chancellor's Run Road from Pegg Road to Route 235. The planning and design of the project are underway.

* New interchange connecting Branch Avenue (Route 5), Route 373 and Brandywine Road, $16 million. Severe congestion during peak hours at this intersection affects drivers in southern Prince George's County and Southern Maryland and commuters to and from Washington. This funding will provide nearly a third of what is needed for its design and construction.

* New interchange connecting Route 4 and Suitland Parkway, $15 million ($4 million of this amount was secured by Hoyer). The Suitland Parkway project would expand a major corridor from Calvert County to Prince George's County and Washington and improve access to Southern Maryland's military bases. The $4 million will be used to add one general-use lane in each direction.

From left, St. Mary's commissioners President Thomas F. McKay, Charles County Commissioner Robert J. Fuller and U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer at the groundbreaking for the Hughesville Bypass in November.