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Leggett calls for higher speed limit on ICC

Friday - 8/10/2012, 12:28pm  ET

ICC traffic (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)
The ICC is designed to handle a top speed of 60 mph, Maryland officials say. (WTOP Photo/Kristi King)

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Montgomery County Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett is renewing calls to raise the 55 mph speed limit on Maryland's InterCounty Connector.

"The speed limit certainly should increase, especially now, when you have an opportunity to go faster at a safe speed," Leggett tells WTOP.

ICC drivers notice that at any time of the day the road flows freely and the speedometer easily reaches 55.

Leaders with the Maryland Transportation Authority, which controls the toll road, say that free flow is by design.

"We built a highway that will be there not just for today, but for the future, so of course we built in extra capacity," says Harold Bartlett, head of the MdTA.

He also says vehicle volume on the road is right at or slightly above projections for this point in the road's history.

With all the open space, Leggett says the time to raise the speed limit is now.

The MdTA is studying the possibility of raising the speed limit, but officials maintain the road was designed to handle a top speed of 60 mph. The authority also notes that raising the speed limit to 60 mph would only shave off about 1.5 minutes of travel time if a driver drove the full length of the the highway.

The 18.8-mile ICC is Maryland's first all-electronic toll road. It costs $4 during rush hours to ride end-to-end. Work is under way on the final one-mile stretch between Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 in Laurel. That segment will open late next year or in early 2014.

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