First phase of ICC to open Feb. 22
The first phase of the long-awaited and long-fought-over Intercounty Connector will open Feb. 22, Gov. Martin O'Malley announced today.
Drivers will get their first chance to use part of the $2.6 billion toll road that day a 6 a.m. when the state opens the 5.5-mile segment between Interstate 370 and Georgia Avenue. O'Malley said the highway will be toll-free for the first 13 days it is open -- through March 6.
The section's completion has been delayed by weather conditions in recent months. Today's announcement indicates the state is reasonably confident it can meet the target date, but it still comes with the caveat of "weather permitting."
The second phase of the ICC -- between Georgia Avenue and Interstate 95 -- is expected to open about a year from now. The highway was the subject of decades of contention between environmentalists and highway supporters before winning federal approval under the administration of former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.
The ICC is expected to eventually extend to U.S. 1, but that part of the project has been deferred indefinitely.
The highway will be Maryland's first toll facility for which all rolls will be collected electronically -- either through the use of E-ZPass or by taking the pictures of the license plates of vehicles that use the road. Tolls for passenger vehicles using the full 5.5 miles will range from 60 cents during overnight hours to $1.45 at peak rimes.
The Maryland Transportation Authority will begin collecting tolls March 7. Owners of vehicles that do not have an E-ZPass will receive a bill in the mail for the toll, along with a $3 service fee. That fee is being waived for the first month of the ICC's operation, but will go into effect April 6.