ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WMAR) — The Board of Public Works on Wednesday is expected to vote in favor of advancing the Traffic Relief Plan, moving forward an agreement between Maryland and Virginia to build a new American Legion Bridge on I-495.
Governor Larry Hogan made the announcement on Friday after he and fellow board member, Comptroller Peter Franchot agreed to the vote.
“This means that we can finally move forward on our historic interstate agreement with Virginia to build a new American Legion Bridge, and to solve what has been the number one problem in the Washington Capital Region for decades," Hogan said in a statement Friday.
Last November Hogan and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam agreed to the Capital Beltway Accord Interstate Regional Partnership, with a goal to relieve congestion along one of the nation's most traveled areas connecting Montgomery County to Fairfax Virginia.
The project would replace the existing lanes in each direction across the Potomac River and add two new Express Lanes in each direction for approximately three miles between the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia to the River Road area in Maryland.
Though a total price tag hasn't been announced, the two states plan to split the costs.
Hogan on Friday insisted the project wouldn't add new tolls or increase taxes.
"With this plan, no one will be required to pay any tolls, all existing lanes will remain free, and billions of dollars in road improvements will be made without any new taxes. Nearly 70 percent of Marylanders support this project to address the second-worst traffic congestion in America. This marks a monumental achievement for our region," said Hogan.
Under the agreement, Maryland would cover 79 percent of the General Purpose Lanes on the new American Legion Bridge, 50 percent of the new Express Lanes, and 100 percent of the southbound Express Lanes and General Purpose Lanes from MD-190/River Road to the George Washington Parkway.
In return, Virginia would cover 21 percent of the General Purpose Lanes on the new American Legion Bridge, 50 percent of the new Express Lanes, and 100 percent of the northbound Express Lanes and General Purpose Lanes from the George Washington Parkway to MD-190/River Road.
Officials say the project could cut many travelers commute time in half, while reduce congestion in the regular lanes by 25 percent, and providing 40 percent more lane capacity over the old bridge, as well as bicycle and pedestrian paths across the Potomac River.
As of now, no estimated start or completion date has been set for construction.