ICC Now Open: 36,500 Vehicles Use it on First Day
February 25, 2011 |
After 56 years of study and debate, the first segment of the Inter County Connector (ICC) is now open and traffic on opening day exceeded expectations, with some 36,500 vehicles test-driving the first major new limited-access highway built in Montgomery County since 1967 on day one. The first completed segment of the ICC runs from I-370 near Shady Grove Road across Georgia Avenue, and ends at a temporary exit onto Norbeck Road just east of Georgia Avenue.
When completed, the ICC will connect two of Maryland’s key employment corridors and reduce travel times between I-270 and I-95 by roughly half. The time savings are already apparent. In my first real trip on the ICC, other than a ceremonial drive just for the fun of it on opening day, I used the ICC to get from Rockville Pike near Shady Grove Road to a meeting in Olney. This trip from Shady Grove Road to Georgia Avenue used to take about 30-35 minutes, depending upon traffic and lights, but this time it took about 7 minutes. Imagine how much more accessible the two counties spanned by the ICC will be, from east to west, when the entire project is complete. The full ICC should be open in the next year.
It will be interesting to see, once the whole project is complete and the tolls are operational, how many people use it on a daily basis. With just the first segment open, it is much too early to draw any conclusions. However, if it performs as the traffic models indicate, there will be significant traffic diverted off crowded local roads and dramatic improvements in congestion levels at dozens of intersections across this highly traveled corridor. While other recent projects have performed exactly as the models predicted (Montrose Parkway and the Wilson Bridge come to mind), we shall all have to wait and see if the ICC does the same.
For more information, see local coverage on Patch.com here.