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Next segment of Intercounty Connector to open Nov. 22

Friday - 10/28/2011, 6:54am  ET

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

WASHINGTON -- After decades of planning and debate, the full Intercounty Connector (ICC) is weeks away from opening.

"We are scheduled to open the next segment of the ICC from Georgia Avenue to I-95 by 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22.," project spokesperson Ray Feldmann wrote in an email to WTOP.

This means that for the first time, drivers will be able to make the full, nearly 19-mile trip from the Interstate 370 corridor in Gaithersburg to I-95 in Laurel on the roadway.

Maryland Transportation leaders have been saying the full road would open by the end of the year. The date of Nov. 22 was first reported by the Washington Post.

The ICC is Maryland's first all electronic toll road. There are no toll booths. Tolls are collected through E-ZPass. Those who use the road without a pass have to pay a service fee, in addition to the toll.

Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) executive secretary Harold Bartlett says exact rates have not yet been set for the entire length of the toll road, but officials do have the allowable ranges.

During rush hour, cars without an E-ZPass will have to pay somewhere between $.38 and $.53 a mile. The range is $.15 to $.45 per mile during overnight hours, and $.30 to $.45 per mile for all other times.

The ICC stretches 18.8 miles from I-370 to I-95, but only 16 miles are tolled. A complete trip during peak times could cost drivers without an E-ZPass anywhere from just over $6 up to $8.50, depending on the MdTA's decision.

With an E-ZPass, the rates are lower: $.25 to $.35 a mile in peak times, $.10 to $.30 a mile overnight and $.20 to $.30 at other times. It could cost drivers with transponders somewhere from $4 to $5.60, pending the MdTA's decision.

"The hope really is that we get traffic off the local roadway networks, and really provide an alternative for people to get across the county," ICC project manager Melinda Peters says.

Traveling from one end of the road to the other should take about 20 minutes, she says. The speed limit is 55 mph.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)