The Montgomery County Council has voted unanimously to oppose a new Potomac River bridge crossing. The council voted 9-0 for a resolution against the idea.The proposed project would include extending Route 28 in Virginia to the portion of the Intercounty Connector that is in Montgomery County. Council members cited costs and a lack of funding for opposing the bridge. However, regional lawmakers on Wednesday approved looking into constructing a northern bridge across the Potomac River. The approval came despite opposition from Montgomery County and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration. The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board also approved nine other proposals to be analyzed over the next four months. Board members will decide in December which of the 10 proposals to add to the long-range plan.
Officials in Loudoun County, Virginia, have been looking into building a bridge that would connect Northern Virginia and Montgomery County. However, no bridge is possible without Maryland’s consent, and state and Montgomery County officials have long opposed the idea.
“From a state of Maryland perspective, it’s not happening,” said board member R. Earl Lewis, Jr., representing Maryland’s Department of Transportation.[caption id="attachment_3029" align="aligncenter" width="300"] State transportation officials take questions from Montgomery County Council members.[/caption] Eleven bridges allow cars and trucks to travel over the Potomac from Northern Virginia to areas in Montgomery County or the District. White’s Ferry and the Rosslyn Tunnel also allow automobiles to cross the river. “When are we going to actually start listening to the people who are driving to work every day?” said board member Ron Meyer, representing Loudoun County. Board member Martin Nohe, representing Prince William County, Virginia, said more research on the bridge should prove whether it would be a good addition to the long-range transportation plan.
Peter Schwartz, representing Fauquier County, Virginia, said that he was split on the issue and that the project was a distraction from other issues. Board member Shyam Kannan, representing Metro, called for focusing on securing funding for the subway system. Meyer says a new bridge would fill a 70-year-old gap in the regional transportation system.