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Author Topic: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?  (Read 63823 times)

cpzilliacus

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New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« on: January 30, 2012, 07:50:44 AM »

The only capacity increase currently under study is doing something at the U.S. 301 (Harry Nice Bridge) crossing well south of Washington, D.C.  The Maryland Transportation Authority has been working on this for quite a few years (Web site here).

In the past week, there have been two stories by WTOP radio regarding river crossings:

Is Maryland cut off from Dulles International Airport?

WTOP Answer Desk: New Potomac river crossing coming?

Earlier in the month, Washington Post op-ed writer Steven Pearlstein wrote in favor of new crossings here.

Thoughts?
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 07:58:34 AM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 08:13:13 AM »

I can't see anything getting built for a very long time and development might make that unattainable by the time this could be built.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 08:41:33 AM »

I can't see anything getting built for a very long time and development might make that unattainable by the time this could be built.

Never ending delay and controversy were two of the strategies used against Md. 200, the InterCounty Connector.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 09:28:26 AM »

Quote
and development might make that unattainable by the time this could be built.

Development pretty much already makes it unattainable at this point.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 09:56:39 AM »

I don't think it's a lack of political will, but it is politics:  MD will never spend taxpayer $$ to make travel to Dulles easier than to BWI
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 10:07:14 AM »

In the past week, there have been two stories by WTOP radio regarding river crossings:

Is Maryland cut off from Dulles International Airport?

WTOP Answer Desk: New Potomac river crossing coming?

Short of a new highway between Dulles airport and northern Montgomery County MD (needed but unlikely to happen), there are easier things that could help with access to Dulles.  For example, a pet peeve of mine is that on the Maryland side there are all kinds of signs promoting and steering travelers to BWI, but none pointing the way to Dulles or Reagan National airports in Virginia.  (The converse is true for Virginia, though there are lots of signs pointing travelers to Baltimore, and so indirectly to BWI just southwest of that city.)  My sister once almost missed her flight to California out of Dulles, because there was no signage on southbound I-95 approaching the Capital Beltway in Silver Spring about which direction to take to get to Dulles, and she took the wrong turn and wound up detouring through Alexandria.  More even-handed directions to *all* the major local airports would help.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 10:43:29 AM »

Classic case of the two states' dislike of each other, which is not as well-known as the one between the two cities, but still as intense.

While an extension of the ICC into Virginia would be great, I don't see it happening for decades, mainly because of the lawsuits and hefty opposition that would result and also caused the unnecessarily endless delay of the current highway's construction in the first place.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 12:08:55 PM »

I doubt anything's going to happen in our lifetimes as well.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 12:14:53 PM »

Gov. O'Malley was asked about it on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" this morning.  His response is that they're willing to explore a new Point of Rocks crossing (about halfway down the page).

The problem with such a crossing is that Loudoun County is opposed to widening US 15 north of Leesburg.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 12:55:25 PM »

Nothing will ever happen in any of our lifetimes.

One of the problems with a new bridge to the west/north of the Beltway is that the roads that would be linked up don't really match each other all that well. That is, if you continue I-370/the ICC on its natural arc towards the Potomac, you'd cross somewhere in the neighborhood of Springvale Road in Virginia (where L'Auberge Chez Francois is) and you'd have to expand the roads leading to that area, which won't happen and would cost a fortune. Those are all twisty narrow roads that hearken back to a Fairfax County of a different era. Also a lot of extremely wealthy people living in that area to fight the project. Can't cross east of there due to Great Falls and Riverbend Parks. A crossing further to the west to link to VA-28 or the Fairfax County Parkway would require massive disruption across Montgomery County.

Prior to the reconstruction of the Springfield Interchange and the Wilson Bridge I thought it would be useful to have a crossing somewhere between the Beltway and the Governor Nice Bridge. The most logical location seemed to be if there were a way to extend MD-210 (Indian Head Highway) across the Potomac to link up to I-95 in the Dale City area (though I recognize the naval base on the Maryland side would pose a practical problem for security reasons, and if it were further south the same issue would arise with the Marine Corps base on the Virginia side). For the most part the reconstruction seems to have solved the worst of the traffic issues. I don't think there's the same local demand down there that there is from Montgomery County to the Dulles or Tysons areas, such that another crossing to the south would serve more as a bypass for long-distance traffic. With the billions spent on Springfield and the Wilson Bridge, I suppose construction of a bypass around that area might render the work already done a bit of a white elephant, so I'd rather see the Beltway's "local"/"thru" arrangement extended to Springfield in the unlikely event there were ever enough money to do it.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 02:36:14 PM »

I still remember the huge flamewar in MTR about the Techway Connector, which was

. . . only a study, and

. . . over ten years ago.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 03:25:04 PM »

I still remember the huge flamewar in MTR about the Techway Connector, which was

. . . only a study, and

. . . over ten years ago.

Wasn't one of the flamers Mark Robinowitz, formerly a resident of Takoma Park, Md. (and admitted member of Earth First!) and apparently now residing in Oregon?

He had a very elaborate anti-ICC Web site that he put up during the 1990's ICC DEIS process, but it's gone now (though parts can be retrieved from Archive.org).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 05:36:08 PM »

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #13 on: February 01, 2012, 09:41:00 PM »

The only capacity increase currently under study is doing something at the U.S. 301 (Harry Nice Bridge) crossing well south of Washington, D.C.  The Maryland Transportation Authority has been working on this for quite a few years (Web site
Thoughts?

Should have been done 30 years ago.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2012, 06:54:16 AM »

There should have been an extension of Rt. 28, going over the Potomac to I-270 done long ago, too late now.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2012, 02:56:15 PM »

There should have been an extension of Rt. 28, going over the Potomac to I-270 done long ago, too late now.

Though many of the people that were involved in the frantic and decades-long opposition to the Md. 200 toll road (ICC) are the same that have opposed new crossings of the river.  The standard arguments against both are pretty much identical.

(1) It cannot be built without massive environmental damage.
(2) Money should be spent on mass transit projects using steel wheels running on steel rails instead.
(3) The tolls will be too high.
(4) It won't be used.
(5) It will "drain" jobs from Prince George's County.
(6) It will "drain" jobs from Montgomery County.
(7) It will "induce" more vehicular traffic.
(8) It won't provide any congestion relief for the Capital Beltway (this argument is always last).
« Last Edit: February 03, 2012, 06:09:16 PM by Steve »
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2012, 06:14:34 PM »

To be fair, they're right on 1, 6, and 7.  Regarding #2, some have suggested connecting Bethesda with Tysons via rail.  As for #8, depending on how far east they put it, it probably would draw some trips from the Beltway.  But there's enough latent and unmet demand along the Beltway to where, strictly speaking, #8 would be correct.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #17 on: February 04, 2012, 12:13:47 PM »

To be fair, they're right on 1, 6, and 7.  Regarding #2, some have suggested connecting Bethesda with Tysons via rail.  As for #8, depending on how far east they put it, it probably would draw some trips from the Beltway.  But there's enough latent and unmet demand along the Beltway to where, strictly speaking, #8 would be correct.


East, as in Laurel to Bowie, or somewhere near?
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #18 on: February 04, 2012, 08:48:30 PM »

East as in closer to the American Legion Bridge than to Leesburg.  You're thinking of something totally different.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2012, 06:55:22 AM »

To be fair, they're right on 1, 6, and 7.  Regarding #2, some have suggested connecting Bethesda with Tysons via rail.  As for #8, depending on how far east they put it, it probably would draw some trips from the Beltway.  But there's enough latent and unmet demand along the Beltway to where, strictly speaking, #8 would be correct.


Wrong on #6. Montgomery Co. has been identified as an emerging tech corridor growth area by many real estate experts.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2012, 08:26:36 AM »

To be fair, they're right on 1, 6, and 7.  Regarding #2, some have suggested connecting Bethesda with Tysons via rail.  As for #8, depending on how far east they put it, it probably would draw some trips from the Beltway.  But there's enough latent and unmet demand along the Beltway to where, strictly speaking, #8 would be correct.


East, as in Laurel to Bowie, or somewhere near?

Henry, what you are speaking of was once part of the InterCounty Connector, which was late truncated at U.S. Route 1 (Baltimore Avenue), which will be the eastern terminus of the road in a few years.

It was shown on the Prince George's County Master Plan of Highways as Route A-44 and ran as far south and east as U.S. 301 near Upper Marlboro. 
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2012, 10:45:14 AM »

Obviously, I was thinking something different. But froggie is right, that placing it closer to the American Legion Bridge would take some traffic off that part of the Beltway.

There should have been an extension of Rt. 28, going over the Potomac to I-270 done long ago, too late now.

Though many of the people that were involved in the frantic and decades-long opposition to the Md. 200 toll road (ICC) are the same that have opposed new crossings of the river.  The standard arguments against both are pretty much identical.

(1) It cannot be built without massive environmental damage.
(2) Money should be spent on mass transit projects using steel wheels running on steel rails instead.
(3) The tolls will be too high.
(4) It won't be used.
(5) It will "drain" jobs from Prince George's County.
(6) It will "drain" jobs from Montgomery County.
(7) It will "induce" more vehicular traffic.
(8) It won't provide any congestion relief for the Capital Beltway (this argument is always last).

I see contradiction in #4 and #7. One suggests that no one will drive it for the reason cited in #3, and the other indicates a potential congestion problem along the route. But remember, this is a toll road with no gates to stop at, like on a traditional one; and even with the ICC in place, the parallel-running Beltway will still have more traffic, so congestion would be the very least of ICC travelers' worries.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2012, 12:06:09 PM »

real estate experts.


a completely credible source.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2012, 08:34:12 PM »

Quote
Wrong on #6. Montgomery Co. has been identified as an emerging tech corridor growth area by many real estate experts.

However, the cost of doing business is generally lower on the Virginia side of the Potomac.  Cost of living, too, which is one reason why I chose Virginia over Maryland when I transferred here.  Also, while the Dillon Rule creates some rather Byzantine-like governance in Virginia, Fairfax and Loudoun aren't quite as hamstrung by growth boundaries as Montgomery County is.
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Re: New crossings of the Potomac River between Md. and Va.?
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2012, 09:27:48 PM »

Quote
Wrong on #6. Montgomery Co. has been identified as an emerging tech corridor growth area by many real estate experts.

However, the cost of doing business is generally lower on the Virginia side of the Potomac.  Cost of living, too, which is one reason why I chose Virginia over Maryland when I transferred here.  Also, while the Dillon Rule creates some rather Byzantine-like governance in Virginia, Fairfax and Loudoun aren't quite as hamstrung by growth boundaries as Montgomery County is.

Not so sure that the cost of doing business is that much less in Northern Virginia than it is in Montgomery County, but Montgomery's Byzantine planning, zoning and approval process does make building something new an expensive and drawn-out proposition.

Absolutely correct regarding the Montgomery County growth boundary - known as the (so-called) Agricultural Preserve.
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