Are drivers familiar enough with the Intercounty Connector to gum it up the first week?
Maryland’s transportation agencies say they are going to monitor traffic on the ICC and the roads around it following the Tuesday morning opening, and can adjust the traffic signals and lane access if they find knots of congestion.
It will be interesting to see whether enough drivers have been paying attention to the connector’s progress to know how and where to take advantage of the opening right away.
There was a surge of traffic back in February when the first six-mile segment opened. It never felt like a surge when you were on the connector. The issue was crowding around the entrances and exits. But there were only three places to enter and exit.
This time, with another 10-mile section open by 6 a.m. Tuesday, there will be a lot more interchanges to spread out the entering and exiting traffic.
Drivers will be able to travel the road for free, just as they could back in February, before the tolls kicked in. And there may be some Thanksgiving holiday getaway traffic adding to the normal flow of commuters and drivers who just want to see what new pavement looks like.
The local roads near the connector that Maryland transportation officials will pay special to over the next few days include Shady Grove Road, Georgia Avenue, Norbeck Road, Layhill Road, New Hampshire Avenue, Route 29, Fairland Road, Briggs Chaney Road, Musgrove Road, Old Columbia Pike and Powder Mill Road.
(The temporary interchange between the connector and Norbeck Road has closed, but east-west commuters may still use Norbeck to link up with the interchanges on Georgia Avenue or Layhill Road.)
If you’re using the connector or one of the nearby highways, pay special attention to the state’s variable message boards for advisories about the connector.
The weather may not be too good for a test drive Tuesday and Wednesday. The Capital Weather Gang says there’s a decent chance of rain both days. Thursday looks good, in case you’d like to begin your Thanksgiving celebration with a test drive on the new road.