The state should put the brakes on a project to widen interstates 270 and 495, Rockville’s Mayor and Council said in a letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation.
“The City of Rockville requests that MDOT put a pause on the project and process,” the letter states. “It is not responsible to continue spending taxpayers’ money on preliminary design, environmental studies, and hiring a developer while the country is facing significant economic changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also predicted that teleworking will be more acceptable and widely implemented in the future, which will likely lower traffic volumes on I-495 and I-270. Therefore, it only makes sense to hold off on next steps for this project until a new purpose and need is defined.”
The Mayor and Council have long expressed concerns about the project, which could widen the interstates and add toll lanes over the American Legion Bridge. The state recently received statements from four private firms seeking to establish their qualifications to develop the first phase of the project, which the state’s Board of Public Works approved in January.
In the letter, the Mayor and Council called for a 90-day comment period to review the project’s lengthy draft environmental impact statement, which includes traffic, engineering, financial and environmental analyses for each of the project’s six alternatives. The Mayor and Council also requested that the state work with the city to ensure that developers’ project proposals address Rockville’s concerns and said that it is critical that the state include transit as part of the project.
If the project proceeds, the Mayor and Council urged the state to leave Rockville homes, businesses, infrastructure, and city property untouched when adding lanes or widening I-270, and requested a state study of the project’s traffic impact on city streets, such as Wootton Parkway and West Gude Drive. They also requested a noise analysis and construction of sound walls along the stretch of I-270 within the city limits to protect the West End Park, Rockshire, Saddlebrook, Fallswood, Rose Hill Falls, Woodley Gardens and Regent Square neighborhoods.
To read the staff report, find the June 22 Mayor and Council agenda at www.rockvillemd.gov/AgendaCenter.
For more information about the project, visit For more information, visit https://495-270-p3.com.