Officials to Present Construction Plans for Controversial Montrose Parkway

As featured in Bethesda Magazine

Officials to Present Construction Plans for Controversial Montrose ParkwayMontgomery County and state transportation officials are ready to present construction plans for a controversial stretch of highway east of Rockville Pike, near White Flint.

The county and State Highway Administration will hold a public hearing to present 90-percent completed design plans for the section of the Montrose Parkway project between Rockville Pike and Parklawn Drive.

The project, which officials say is needed to alleviate the heavy traffic load on Randolph Road east of Rockville Pike, has run into opposition from the county’s Planning Department and from some nearby residents worried that it could cut off access to what’s supposed to be a more walkable White Flint area.

The entire Montrose Parkway East extension—expected to cost the county $119 million—would run 1.62 miles from Rockville Pike to Veirs Mill Road. The section of the project to be discussed at a July 23 public hearing is much shorter, but does include a critical interchange at Parklawn Drive north of that road’s intersection with Randolph Road.

The new four-lane divided highway would essentially run parallel to Randolph Road, where average daily traffic is projected to reach 42,000 vehicles per day by 2020. The highway would bridge Nebel Street and the CSX railroad tracks.

County officials have said providing a bridge crossing of that railroad—as opposed to the existing street-level crossing at Randolph Road—is another key part of the project. They also originally proposed cutting off the existing Randolph Road at the railroad, a proposal the county’s Planning Board advised against in 2013.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s accident prediction model rates the Randolph Road crossing of the railroad as having the fourth highest predicted chance for a collision out of 700 crossings in Maryland.

The project was originally supposed to start construction in mid-2013. Montrose Parkway West, the companion project on the west side of Rockville Pike, was completed in 2010.

The public hearing is set for 6 p.m. July 23 in the lobby-level auditorium of the Executive Office Building,  100 Monroe St., Rockville.

Written comments can be sent to Bruce Johnston, chief of Montgomery County’s Division of Transportation Engineering, via email at bruce.johnston@montgomerycountymd.gov.