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Delays To Watkins Mill Interchange Could Hurt Development, Leaders Say

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Montgomery County leaders are decrying the delay of a project that would have added an interchange along I-270 in Gaithersburg. They're concerned the move will kill hundreds of millions of dollars in development currently taking place in that area.

The Watkins Mill Road interchange is one of three new exits in the planning stages for I-270. It would one the biggest construction projects on the busy highway since it was officially designated Interstate 270 more than 40 years ago.

The Watkins Mill interchange would go between current exits 11 and 13. But just as construction was close to beginning, the state delayed the project in order to find ways to cut the project's nearly $43 million price tag.

That could endanger development already taking place where the exit would go, says Del. Andrew Platt (D-Montgomery County). He says Kaiser Permanente already put up a new building with doctors offices, anticipating a Watkins Mill exit would connect to it.

"You've had tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars already spent on planning and building with the anticipation that the Watkins Mill interchange will be built," Platt says. "So to scale it back... it's going to kill those projects."

A timetable for a revised project has not been released.

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