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The full stretch of InterCounty Connector (ICC) in Maryland is now open, meaning drivers will be able to get between Interstate-270 and Interstate-95 in about half the time that it takes on local streets.
The ICC is a toll road, although drivers can use it for free until Dec. 5. After that, commuters should have an EZPass for the most efficient ride. Drivers without an EZPass will be "video-tolled," which will result in a fee of $6 for the full span of the highway, as opposed to just $4.
EZPass tags are available at the Gaithersburg and Beltsville MVA locations and online at EZPassMD.com.
One segment of the ICC, from I-270 to Norbeck Road near Georgia Avenue, opened in February. Now, the second segment, from Georgia Avenue to I-95, completes the road.
Exits on and off the ICC may be a little congested while drivers get used to the new traffic patterns, according to Maryland Transportation Authority officials.
But overall, they're expecting a good response from drivers. "It's already been very successful on the first segment, and our expectation is now that the whole road is opening, it will be very successful," says Harold Bartlett from the MTA.
In a Triple-A "road rally" Tuesday morning, one driver clocked a trip of just 22 minutes taking the ICC from Montgomery County to Prince George's County. By comparison, a driver going south on I270, east on the beltway across I95 North, then to 198 took a whopping 55 minutes to get to the same destination.