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MD Considers Solutions To I-270

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By Sabri Ben-Achour

Interstate 270 has some of the worst traffic in the region. Maryland's Department of Transportation is considering a host of options to deal with congestion there.

There are parts of I-270, like all of it in Frederick County, that haven't been widened since 1962. Maryland's Department of Transportation is considering a mix of public transit options, and highway improvement options.

The public transit part is called the Corridor Cities Transitway: in other words, bus or light rail. Rick Kiegel, with the state's transit administration, says the numbers lean toward a bus system. "Because you're getting roughly the same amount of ridership for half the cost, so logically you'd think that a bus would be the way to go," says Kiegel.

But a lot of local jurisdictions favor light rail. So that's one decision that has to be made. Construction could start in 2015.

On the highway improvement side, things are a lot more complicated. Options there include extending local lanes, narrowing lanes to create more of them, and building HOV or Express Toll Lanes.

"There's not one answer for the entire corridor, the final alternative would end up being a mix of several solutions," says Russell Anderson, with the Office of Highway Planning. Complicating matters further is that every jurisdiction along the way has a different opinion. Planners don't even speculate on a timeline for those options.

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