Transportation Planners in Maryland and Virginia continue to be at odds about the prospect of a new Potomac River Crossing. Leaders in Virginia have long been calling for a new bridge, however officials in Maryland and particularly Montgomery County have kept this off the table.
Virginia has again been looking closely at the issue, claiming that a new bridge is necessary to support future economic growth and address traffic concerns. But Montgomery County officials and many residents have claimed that a new crossing would increase sprawl. From Virginia's perspective their hands are largely tied, since Maryland and DC actually own the river. As past efforts to open a dialog with Maryland about a new crossing have gone nowhere, Virginia is now looking at the possibility of extending the I-495 express lanes over the American Legion Bridge as a possible alternative solution.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has been particularly cold to the idea of any new river crossing. In September 2014 Leggett was asked in an online discussion about a Potomac River Crossing, Leggett acknowledged the problems caused by the region's ever worsening traffic congestion but stated “The question whether a second bridge will seriously alleviate these concerns without impacting our environment and agricultural reserve has been deemed to be not worthy of the tremendous risk.” In a December 2014 discussion, Leggett was asked about a Potomac River Crossing and responded “The idea of a bridge crossing the Potomac River through Montgomery County to Virginia has been debated for decades, and ultimately it was decided not to build it. The view is that such a bridge would destroy our Agricultural Reserve, which is one of the features of our County of which I'm most proud." And in April 2015, when a resident complained about the cost of the purple line and Silver Spring Transit Center suggested that the priority should be a new bridge into NoVa, Leggett declined to even address the idea of a new bridge at all, and instead said the solution is to spend more on transit.
Of course in reality elected officials in Montgomery County do not consider transit to be a solution to their own transportation needs. Neither County Executive Ike Leggett nor any members of the County Council take transit to work.
This means that anyone trying to get from Montgomery County or Prince George's County into any point in Virginia must cross the same single bridge, no other viable option exists without adding at least 35 miles to the trip. The result of this is known to anyone who commutes south on I-270... even if they don't actually cross the river themselves they must still confront almost daily traffic backups which on a bad day can extend all the way into Frederick County.
As bad as the scarcity of river crossings is for Virginia and Maryland motorists, the situation is EVEN WORSE for transit users. A commuter trying to take metro from Gaithersburg to Reston is in for an over two hour ride, since one must transit all the way to the center of DC to change from the red line to the Silver line (that is assuming you are both starting and ending somewhere transit actually goes). And without additional river crossing there is virtually nothing that can be done to improve the situation for transit users in suburban Maryland and VA who must cross the river, since the funny thing about buses and trains is that they can't swim.
So what do you think?
(Note: poll results may take up to 1 minute to update)
- ► 2016 (21)
- ▼ September 2015 (5)
- ► 2014 (82)
- ► 2013 (102)
- ► 2012 (66)
- ► 2011 (88)
- ► 2010 (69)
- ► 2009 (58)
Our Top Stories
- Rockville Falsely Accuses School Bus of Speeding
- Montgomery County Has Secret Speed Camera Committee -- Press and Critics Not Welcome
- Montgomery Speed Camera "OmBudsman" Won't Answer Questions
- Montgomery County Issues Erroneous Tickets
- College Park Cited Stationary Bus for Speeding
- Montgomery County ATEU Defends Culture of Secrecy
- How Two-Faced Triple-A Gave Maryland Speed Cameras
- "Secret" Baltimore Speed Camera Audit Found 10% Error Rate
- Speed Camera Reform Act Just a Big Fat Lie
- Court Rules Against Morningside on Public Records Access
- Speed Camera Company Celebrates "Bounty System" Loophole
- Montgomery County Steals Lanes for Expensive Bus Program
- Wicomico County Teachers Say Camera is Not Accurate
- Montgomery Council President Rice Racked Up Tickets
- Circuit Court Rules Innocence is a Defense, Rejects "Snitch" Requirement
- Baltimore Ends Camera Contract, Moves to Hides Records
- Montgomery Scamera Boss Lies About Red Light Camera "Warning Flashes"
- Montgomery County Camera Boss Blocks Public From Secret Meeting
- Salisbury Records Show Calibration Lapses, Sorry No Refunds!!
- Speed Camera Accuracy Questioned in Morningside
- Attorny General Gansler Depicted as "Reckless Passenger"
- Morningside Deployed Cameras Despite County Denial
- Morningside Admits Maintaining No Calibration Records, Doesn't Operate Own Cameras
- ACLU Documents Mass Tracking of Motorists By License Plate Scannrs
- Brekford Demands Tribute to See Calibration Records
- Access To Brekford Calibration Records Stalled in Salisbury, Morningside
- Public and Private Lobbyists Worked to Kill Speed Camera Reform
- Montgomery County Speed Camera Transforms Toyota into Dodge
- Montgomery County Boasts Error Rate "Under Ten Percent"
- Speed Camera Company Collects Dirt on Competitors
- Woman Gets 3 Tickets from DC Without Going There
- Legislature Raises Gas Tax
- Laurel, Hagerstown Circumvent Calibration Requirement
- Speed Camera Calibration Fails To Ensure Accuracy
- Speed Camera Programs Flout Sunshine Law
- Xerox Admits 5% Error Rate For Speed Camera Tickets
- Baltimore Cites Motionless Car For Speeding
- O'Malley Says Speed Camera Bounties Are Illegal
- Baltimore Ticketed Innocent Delivery Vehicle: Documents Prove Speed Camera Error
- Rockville Sees Huge Surge in Red Light Violations
- Trucking Company Challenges Accuracy of Baltimore Citations: Videos Prove Speed Camera Errors
- Speed Camera Salesman Caught Speeding AGAIN
- Riverdale Park Defends Forgery of Police Signatures
- High Court Rules Local Governments Above the Law
- Riverdale Park Allowed Civilians to Forge Police Approvals
- Baltimore Speed Camera Issues Ticket to the Dead
- Statewide Speed Cameras Now a $77Million Per Year Industry
- PG County Court Presumes All Defendants Guilty
- Town Releases Documents Proving Errors With Optotraffic Cameras
- Man arrested for asserting innocence in speed camera hearing
- Optotraffic Representative Caught Speeding
- Driver Uses Carchip to Challenge Optotraffic Camera
- Deceased Baltimore Cop Signs 2000 Citations
- Montgomery County Denies Right To Face Camera Operator In Court
- ACS Buys Steak Dinners For Lawmakers
- Baltimore City Issues Hundreds of Tickets in Error
- Baltimore Writes Speed Camera Revenues Into Budget Before Cameras Approved
- Camera Mistakenly Accuses Driver of 100mph Rampage
- Montgomery County Scamera Contract Includes Massive PR Campaign
- Optotraffic Investigates Possible Speed Camera Errors
- Speed Camera Legislation Attracts Lobbyists
- Sykesville Voters Overturn Speed Cameras in Referendum
- Traffic Engineering Techniques Out-perform Speed Cameras
- Transportation Planning Board Unveils Plan to Track and Tax Drivers