How long has the Midcounty Highway been a part of the Master Plan?
Since the 1960s.
Why was the project held up since 2004? What is different about the project between now and 2004?
In 2004, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) began a planning study as the first step toward evaluating the need and feasibility for the remainder of the Midcounty Highway master plan alignment. As part of the planning process, the County determined the purpose and need for the extension of Midcounty Highway and examined the environmental features in the master plan alignment corridor. These findings and the proposed purpose and need were presented at a public workshop in November 2004.
Following the public workshop, concerns were raised by state and federal environmental resource agencies that the purpose and need for the Midcounty Highway extension should be further defined. The agencies also requested other alternatives be evaluated in addition to the master plan alignment.
Accordingly, the MCDOT has invested additional resources to provide greater analysis, and the result of the new direction is the broader Midcounty Corridor Study (MCS). The Midcounty Corridor Study expands the scope to a larger region and evaluates more alternatives with different alignments.
What is the new study area for the Midcounty Corridor Study?
The western boundary for study area for the Midcounty Corridor Study (MCS) is I-270 between Washington Grove and Clarksburg. The eastern boundary includes Muncaster Mill Road, Snouffer School Road, and Wightman Road.
Who is conducting the study?
Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is the lead agency responsible for the study. Because of the probable environmental permits required for construction of any of the alternatives, the US Army Corps of Engineers is the lead federal agency responsible for the environmental analysis. If a project is eventually constructed, MCDOT would be responsible for the construction and eventual maintenance of the facility.
What is the purpose for the study
The purposes for transportation improvements as evaluated in the Midcounty Corridor Study area are:
- To relieve existing and projected congestion on roadway facilities between Clarksburg and Gaithersburg, east of I-270;
- to provide a north-south corridor which improves the safety and efficiency of short and moderate length trips in the study area;
- to improve vehicular, pedestrian and bicycle access to residential, commercial and employment destinations in Clarksburg and in the eastern areas of Gaithersburg and Germantown; and
- to develop all improvements in an environmentally sensitive manner using measures to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts.
Where are we now in the Midcounty Corridor Study? What are the next steps in the planning process?
The MCDOT’s recommended Preferred Alternative has culminated in the publication of the March 2015 Draft Preferred Alternative/Conceptual Mitigation Report (PA/CM). The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is reviewing an option for the Midcounty Corridor Study (MCS) that includes the master planned MD355 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) alignment (Shady Grove Road to Redgrave Place) and alternatives 2 and 5. Since the BRT Master Plan was not approved until 2013, it was not included as an alternative in the original Midcounty Corridor Study. The new MCS/BRT Alternative study will examine whether the combined improvements will satisfy the transportation demands of the study area and meet the purpose and need of MCS without constructing the extension of Midcounty Highway. An independent MD355 BRT Study for the 22 miles from Clarksburg to Bethesda is being performed by the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and Maryland Transit Administration (MTA). The SHA/MTA study will provide the needed travel modelling to evaluate the MCS/BRT Alternative. The results of the SHA/MTA study are expected to be complete in early 2016, and the modeling of the MCS/BRT Alternative is expected to be complete in fall, 2016.
For more information about the study process, please visit the
Project Schedule and Process link on this website.
How can the public provide input to the study? How do I make a comment or ask a question?
The public may provide input and comments on the Midcounty Corridor Study (MCS) at anytime during the life of the project. Comments can be made by mail, phone, email, or via this website Click on Contact Us/Comment Form.
How do I keep informed?
- Add your name and address to the project mailing list and e-mail distribution list Click on Contact Us/Comment Form.
- Contact the project manager anytime:
Greg Hwang, Project Manager
Midcounty Corridor Study
Montgomery County Department of Transportation
Division of Transportation Engineering
100 Edison Park Drive, 4th Floor
Gaithersburg, MD 20878
- When decisions have been reached, there will be project mailings. Everyone on the project mailing list will receive project mailings.
What about transit?
All alternatives evaluated, including the No Build Alternative, assume that all transit improvements which are part of the region’s long range plan will be implemented by 2030, the horizon year for this study. This includes the Corridor Cities Transitway and numerous improvements to local, express, and feeder buses. Beyond that, the Midcounty Corridor Study explored increased transit service (more frequent service, with faster travel times) in the development of Alternative 2, Transportation System Management/Travel Demand Management Alternative.
What about pedestrian/bicycle accommodations?
Bicycle and pedestrian improvements are included as one of the study’s purposes. Off-street bicycle paths and additional sidewalks where none presently exist will be investigated.
What kind of environmental document will be completed?
Because the environmental analysis is required to follow the federal
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), either an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS) will be prepared.
Which resource and regulatory agencies are participating in the study?
Please click on Project Team.
How and when will the final alternative be selected?
The Draft Environmental Effects Report (EER) will evaluate the alternatives retained for detailed study (ARDS). Following the Draft EER’s circulation, a comment period and a public hearing will be held. Based on the analysis included in the Draft EER and comments received on it, a recommendation will be made to the Montgomery County Executive and County Council on the Preferred Alternative. Likewise, a Preferred Alternative / Conceptual Mitigation Report (PA/CM) will be made to the concurring resource agencies. Any of these agencies/offices may recommend revisions.
MCDOT will make every effort to obtain concurrence from state and federal environmental regulatory agencies on the PA/CM in late 2016.
Will my property/neighborhood be impacted by the project? What will the environmental impacts be? What will the project cost?
Property impacts, environmental impacts and costs by each alternative of the ARDS are summarized in the May 2013 Draft Environmental Effect Report (Draft EER).
How are public comments used in determining the project path forward? Will my comments make a difference?
Public comments will be documented and become part of public records and allow public officials, transportation decision-makers and Study Team to better understand the needs of the community and the unique concerns each citizen may have. Public input allows developing a transportation solution which is responsive to the public’s needs and desires for the project. The project, at this time, has not selected a preferred alternative. During the Midcounty Corridor Study process, MCDOT will perform an in-depth analysis of several alternatives and document each alternative’s impact to natural, cultural, and community resources and its ability to meet transportation objectives. By the conclusion of the Midcounty Corridor Study, a preferred alternative will be recommended by MCDOT to the elected officials and decision makers.
If a build alternative is selected, when will construction begin? How long will the construction take? When will it be open for public use?
The Midcounty Corridor Study is not funded for construction. At the conclusion of the Midcounty Corridor Study, the Director of MCDOT and elected officials will determine whether or not the Midcounty Corridor Study should advance and to receive funding for final design and construction.
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