Letter Details City Concerns About Potential Harm to Homes, How the Pandemic Will Impact Travel Demand

An environmental study of the state project to widen interstates 270 and 495 between the American Legion Bridge and Frederick with toll lanes is “severely flawed,” the Mayor and Council said in a letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

“The [Draft Environmental Impact Statement] is severely flawed because it completely neglects the impact of the pandemic,” the Nov. 4 letter stated. “The Travel Demand Model assumes traffic volumes will resume to pre-COVID levels, includes too many human health and environmental impacts, and does not include a public mass transit component. Therefore, the City of Rockville supports the only rational alternative in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act:  The No-Build Alternative.”

The letter details other city concerns with the project, including the toll rates; its health and environmental impacts; its potential to affect homes, businesses, infrastructure, and city property; the lack of a public mass transit option; the failure to sufficiently address social equity; and the state’s handling of another public-private partnership, the stalled Purple Line project.

The state will consider testimony to determine a recommended alternative for the project and develop a final environmental impact statement. The state is expected to issue a record of its decision in the spring.

To learn more about the project, visit https://495-270-p3.com.

Read more about the Mayor and Council’s efforts.