Turn ramp opens on Route 29 to pave way for ICC
Reconfigured intersection is piece of transportation puzzle
A new right turn ramp connecting southbound Route 29 and westbound Fairland Road in Silver Spring opened Thursday to help pave the way for the Intercounty Connector.
Before, drivers used a right turn lane at the intersection of Route 29 and Fairland Road. The new ramp veers off from Route 29 about a third of a mile before the intersection. The right turn lane at the intersection closed with the opening of the new ramp.
The ramp officially opened around 3 p.m. Thursday and has been under construction for about a year, said Ray Feldmann, an Intercounty Connector project spokesman.
The ramp was built in anticipation of a section of the Intercounty Connector that will be built in the area.
The Intercounty Connector will eventually be an 18.8-mile toll road stretching from I-270 near Gaithersburg to Route 1 in Prince George's County.
A planned ramp for the ICC would have interfered with the former right turn lane onto westbound Fairland Road from southbound Route 29. The new ICC ramp will go under the one that opened Thursday. Construction on the ICC ramp has begun but most likely won't be completed until later, Feldmann said. That section of the ICC between MD 97 and I-95 is slated to open later this year or early 2012, Feldmann said.
"That's the main reason why we reconfigured the intersection," Feldmann said. "It will make way for the new ramp. We needed to do what we did [Thursday]."
Feldmann said the project took a few months longer than anticipated, mainly due to minor delays like weather that set back the sequence of construction.
"What happened [Thursday] was scheduled to happen a little sooner than now," Feldmann said. "The truth is, it doesn't impact anything. We just wanted to make sure everything was in place."