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Ribbon Cut, Opening Delayed For Intercounty Connector

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Maryland officials cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the first section of the Intercounty Connector.
Matt Bush
Maryland officials cut the ribbon to mark the opening of the first section of the Intercounty Connector.

When ground was broken on the controversial road five years ago, protesters repeatedly interrupted then Gov. Bob Ehrlich as he spoke. Five years later, the protesters were still there, but they were pushed far from the podium when current Gov. Martin O'Malley addressed the crowd.

"A Roman philosopher once said, 'It is rough road that leads to the heights of greatness.' And indeed there have been some rough times in terms of what it took to get this road completed," he says.

Sally Osterling of Silver Spring was one of around 15 protesters at the event. As she held a sign that said "The Road to Hell is paved," she called the day a sad one.

"It's a sad day for nature, Maryland, and O'Malley actually. The road is an abomination. It's deforestation, taking out wetlands, streams, creeks, all of which affect the Chesapeake Bay. One can not be pro-clean up the Bay, and pro-ICC," Osterling says.

But supporters of the ICC touted its benefits, with O'Malley saying it will cut the commute time from the Shady Grove Metro station to Georgia Avenue from 22 minutes to seven.

That portion of the road was scheduled to open Tuesday morning, but because of inclement weather, it will now open on Wednesday at 6 a.m.

"We needed to do some overnight prep work on the night immediately preceding the opening and the weather forecast for tonight. Mother Nature got in the way of that," says Harold Bartlett with the Maryland Transportation Authority.

Bartlett says crews need to mark lanes on roads adjacent to the ICC and says conditions need to be dry to do that. The nearly complete seven-mile stretch of toll road, known as Maryland 200, runs from 1-370 to Georgia Avenue and will cost $1.45 during rush hour and $1.15 during off hours and weekends.

Because the ICC doesn't have toll booths, drivers will need to use an E-ZPass -- or eventually pay an extra $3 fee to be mailed a bill.

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