At various stages of the project, the M-NCPPC, through its Montgomery County Planning Department, Montgomery County Department of Parks, Prince George’s County Planning Department and Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, will review study process, analysis, and any potential environmental and community impacts of alternatives proposed to address congestion within the specific study area. In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) released its Recommended Preferred Alternative (RPA) on January 27, 2021, and on May 12, 2021 announced it was amending the RPA.
MDOT SHA initially announced their
for the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 expansion, which would add four total high-occupancy toll lanes—two HOT managed lanes in each direction of I-495 from south of the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia across the American Legion Bridge (ALB) to west of MD 5, and on I-270 from I-495 to north of I-370. On I-270 the alternative would add one HOT lane and convert the highway’s existing HOV lane, which serves as a free lane except at peak travel times for three hours each day into a HOT lane, resulting in a network of two managed HOT lanes in each direction. With the revised RPA, MDOT SHA has determined that there will be no action on I-495 east of Old Georgetown Road, including from both the I-270 eastern spur and from the I-495 split travelling north and east from the ALB. Any further consideration of that area will require a new NEPA Study. RPA
In summary, the new RPA for the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 expansion under the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study will be limited to the area designated as Phase 1 South as defined by MDOT SHA. That would add four total high-occupancy toll lanes—two HOT managed lanes in each direction of I-495 from the south side of the American Legion Bridge (ALB) to Exit 36, MD 187- Old Georgetown Road, and on I-270 from I-495 to I-370, including that portion of the east spur from I-270 to Old Georgetown Road. On I-270 the alternative would add one HOT lane and convert the highway’s existing HOV lane, which serves as a free or general purpose lane except at peak travel times for three hours each day into a HOT lane, resulting in a network of two managed HOT lanes in each direction. Transition onto the general-purpose lanes will occur at each termini except where the HOT lanes extend into Virginia.
As a result of this change, MDOT SHA is currently preparing a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for publication in September/October 2021 with a 45 day period for additional public comment and a virtual public hearing. The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and the Record of Decision (ROD) will be jointly published in April 2022. The M-NCPPC is in the process of reviewing the details of the revised RPA in anticipation of responding to the SDEIS for alignment with NEPA requirements and best practices. Its findings will be issued to the public as soon as they are available.
The I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study is being conducted by the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) as part of Governor Hogan’s Traffic Relief Plan to consider improvements along I-495 (Capital Beltway), as well as along I-270 (Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Highway). The Managed Lanes Study evaluated a range of alternatives within the specific area of I-495 from the Virginia side of the American Legion Bridge in Fairfax County to the Maryland side of I-495 at Rte. 5, before the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and on I-270 from I-495 to I-370. A notice of intent to complete an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the Managed Lanes Study area was issued by the Federal Highway Administration on March 16, 2018.
During the Summer of 2019, MDOT began studying
in Frederick County under pre-NEPA activities (270 North Activities). I-270 from I-370 to I-70
The purpose of the I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study is to develop a travel demand management solution that addresses congestion, improves trip reliability on I-495 and I-270 within the study limits and enhances existing and planned multimodal mobility and connectivity. MDOT SHA intends to utilize a public-private partnership (P3) in order to design, construct, operate and maintain any proposed infrastructure improvements, both the Managed Lanes Study and the 270 North Activities are being housed in the MDOT SHA P3 Office.
As stewards of the natural and built environment, and as a cooperating agency on this project, as identified as such by SHA, Montgomery Parks and Planning, together with our counterparts in Prince George’s County
have reviewed the Recommended Preferred Alternative (RPA), we will review the revised RPA, and when they are made available to the public, we will review the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIA) and the FEIS and ROD to respond as appropriate in light of the goals, objectives and criteria of the project from a land use perspective. All of our comments published in Quick Links.
Managed lanes are an option to provide travelers with a choice of single-occupant vehicle (SOV) travel in specific areas of roadways. the Recommended Preferred Alternative is likely to have significant effects on parkland and the associated facilities, programs and natural and cultural resources in both counties as well as significant community impacts. The magnitude of the impacts are being evaluated by M-NCPPC staff, and required mitigation proposed by MDOT SHA will ultimately be presented to the M-NCPPC as the project progresses. Learn more about the
. MDOT SHA Managed Lanes Study
SHA Key Project Dates Timeline*
SHA public meetings
Alternatives Retained for Detailed Study (ARDS) and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
DEIS Comment Period Ends
Present MDOT-RPA to Public
Present MDOT-revised RPA to Public
Agency Concurrence on the revised RPA
September - October 2021
45-day Public Comment Period and Virtual Hearing
USACE & MDE Permits Issued
*Schedule subject to change. For the latest updates and additional information, visit the National Environmental Policy Act section of MDOT SHA’s
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the study about?
The I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study is the first element in the MDOT SHA public-private partnership (P3) program to improve more than 70 miles of freeways in Maryland. The study must follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and will result in an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study EIS will include a review of existing and future traffic, roadway and environmental conditions to identify alternatives and assess potential impacts. This environmental study is being jointly led by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA). It will evaluate the potential environmental impacts of proposed alternatives to accommodate existing traffic and long-term traffic growth, and enhance trip reliability in the I-495 and I-270 corridors.
Concurrent with the EIS, MDOT SHA has received proposals from the private sector to enter into a public-private partnership (P3), to develop innovative approaches to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the proposed improvements and mitigate the resulting impacts.
Where are we in the process?
From the 15 preliminary alternatives, originally considered in July 2018, SHA proposed six alternatives retained for detailed study (ARDS). As a result of public comment, agency comment and the result of the studies MDOT SHA has determined a Recommended Preferred Alternative (RPA) for design, construction and operation by a private entity and on May 12, 2021, announced they are recommending no action on I-495 east of Old Georgetown Road and Alternative 9 for the balance of the Study area (Phase 1 South), which would add four total high-occupancy toll lanes—two HOT managed lanes in each direction of I-495 from the south side of the American Legion Bridge (ALB) to Exit 36, MD 187- Old Georgetown Road, and on I-270 from I-495 to I-370, including that portion of the east spur from I-270 to Old Georgetown Road. On I-270 the alternative would add one HOT lane and convert the highway’s existing HOV lane, which serves as a free or general purpose lane except at peak travel times for three hours each day into a HOT lane, resulting in a network of two managed HOT lanes in each direction. Transition onto the general-purpose lanes will occur at each termini except where the HOT lanes extend into Virginia. The next steps are that MDOT SHA will be seeking public comment on a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) in the Fall ’21 that will inform the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and Record of Decision (ROD) to be issued in Spring ’22.
Why is this study being undertaken?
The study is being undertaken by MDOT SHA to find ways of reducing congestion along major transportation routes within the National Capital Region. Our region is the most traffic-choked in the nation based on annual delay and congestion per auto commuter. Two of the most congested routes are I-495/I-95 (Capital Beltway) in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, and I-270 in Montgomery County.
Traffic congestion is a significant impediment to economic opportunities and the quality of life, and needs to be addressed with new, long-term solutions. The statewide cost of congestion based on auto delay, truck delay and wasted fuel and emissions was estimated at $2 billion in 2015, an increase of 22 percent from the $1.7 billion estimated cost of congestion in 2013, according to the Maryland governor’s office. The EIS will look at the ramifications of adding lanes to existing roadways in terms of traffic, the environment, community health and other issues.
What needs will the Environmental Impact Study address?
According to MDOT SHA, the study will examine high travel demand from commuter, business and recreation trips on the Capital Beltway and I-270, which experiences severe congestion from 7 to 10 hours per day. This congestion is expected to worsen over time and additional transportation capacity is needed to address current and future travel demands. The study will examine ways of enhancing trip reliability and providing additional roadway travel choices during extensive periods of congestion. In addition, the study will look at ways of evacuating people and improving emergency response access should an event related to homeland security occur. Efficient and reliable highway capacity to move goods and services is another need suggested by the study.
What is the role of the Montgomery County Planning and Parks Departments in completing the study?
The Planning and Parks Departments are participating in the NEPA process and assessing the impact of each MDOT SHA proposed alternative on the environment, community assets, parkland and cultural, historic and natural resources in the study areas. The two Departments are working in collaboration to keep residents of Montgomery County informed about the project and will issue their findings to the public as they become available. Currently, the Department of Parks is meeting regularly with MDOT SHA to try to reach agreement on i) avoidance, minimization and mitigation of impacts to resources within the proposed limits of disturbance (LOD) as designed by MDOT SHA, ii) discrepancies in the existing right-of-way (ROW) to determine the potential impact to existing parkland and cultural resources, and iii) design and impact concerns such as storm water treatment of the highways. The Planning Department is continuing to comment on best practices in transportation and land use regional policy issues such as transit first for a multi-modal solution to moving people - not just vehicles, meeting environmental justice goals, and addressing local transportation networks that will be adversely impacted.
What is the history behind the Morningstar Tabernacle No. 88 Moses Cemetery?
Morningstar Tabernacle No. 88 of the Ancient United Order of Sons & Daughters, Brothers & Sisters of Moses was established ca. 1885. Moses Hall and its cemetery are located along Seven Locks Road in Gibson Grove. It was one of many African American benevolent societies established across the country in the years following emancipation to provide financial assistance including burial to members. Named for Sarah and Robert Gibson who bought property along Seven Locks Road in 1880, by 1895 the Gibson Grove community included nine African American families. In addition to Moses Hall and cemetery, Gibson Grove had a church and school. Gibson Grove was badly damaged by construction of the Beltway directly through the middle of the community in 1962, leaving Moses Hall and cemetery and the Gibson Grove A.M.E. Zion Church on opposite sides of the highway. Moses Hall is no longer standing and may have been torn down in the 1980s. The last burial in the cemetery occurred in 1977. In 2021 the site was named as one of the
11 most endangered historic places in America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
What is M-NCPPC’s role with the historic Morningstar Tabernacle No. 88 Moses Hall Cemetery?
The Moses Hall and cemetery site are adjacent to the Beltway and will be adversely impacted by the state’s proposed Managed Lanes project to widen the highway. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is a consulting party to this project under the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. This means that the Commission reviews documentation provided by the Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) about the potential effects of the project to neighboring communities and historic properties and provides comments on the undertaking. M-NCPPC has been actively working with the local community, including the Cabin John Citizens Association, the Friends of Moses Hall, and the Trustees of Morningstar Tabernacle 88 to understand the concerns of community members and descendants of those buried in the cemetery, and to answer questions they may have about the process and what resources are available to them in addressing those concerns.
What is the plan for this site based on the state’s latest design proposals for the Managed Lanes Study?
The Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has promised to physically avoid the portion of the known and mapped cemetery. MDOT SHA also intends to construct a wall to dampen highway noise along the boundary of the cemetery. However, many graves in the cemetery are unmarked, and the relationship of graves to the area where there may be construction has not been fully defined. While MDOT SHA has completed some archaeological studies that have shown where many unmarked graves are, including previously unknown burials within the highway right-of-way, there remain sections along the edge of the highway and cemetery property that have not been studied. There are also questions about whether other means of dampening noise have been considered.
MDOT SHA recently said there would be no issues/disturbance related to this site – is that true?
While MDOT SHA has pledged to avoid direct construction impacts to the cemetery, studies to date have not shown whether there may be unmarked graves along the entire boundary between the cemetery property and the highway. Additional studies are needed to ensure that MDOT SHA’s pledge to avoid disturbing gravesites may be fulfilled. There is also the possibility of noise impacts from traffic to the site even if construction doesn’t impact graves directly.
How can the community get involved with assisting and supporting the Morningstar Tabernacle No. 88 Moses Cemetery?
How do I give feedback on this project?
The public and other interested parties are encouraged to comment online at the MDOT SHA I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study website (oplanesmd.com), by email at 495-270-P3@sha.state.md.us, by phone at 833-858-5960 or hard copy during the public workshops held by the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration. Hard copy comments can also be mailed to the I-495 and I-270 P3 Project Office at the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration, 707 North Calvert Street, Mail Stop P-601, Baltimore, MD 21202.