By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Sept. 21 announced plans to add four new lanes to Interstate 270, his state’s portion of the Capital Beltway (I-495), and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway (MD295).

The proposed $9 billion Traffic Relief Plan will reduce congestion for millions of drivers in “a historic and transformative effort to significantly improve the traffic conditions on some of Maryland’s most traveled roads and highways.”

The announcement begins the process to solicit the Public-Private Partnership (P3) industry for input and solutions on what Maryland describes as “the largest proposed P3 highway project in North America.”

Private firms will design, build, finance, operate, and maintain new lanes on I-495 between the American Legion Bridge and the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and on I-270 between I-495 and I-70. Once completed, the Traffic Relief Plan will deliver new express toll lanes, in addition to existing lanes, on I-495, I-270, and MD 295.

In his announcement, the governor did not reference any required action by the Maryland General Assembly to review or approve his plan.  Gov. Hogan also described an ongoing negotiation between the U.S. Department of the Interior and Maryland Transportation Authority to transfer control of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the former to the latter.  It is unclear whether Congress would need to approve this transaction.

The $6 billion light-rail P3 project, called the Purple Line, is also in the early stages of construction in the Maryland suburbs north of Washington, D.C.