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InterCounty Connector off to a smooth start

Wednesday - 11/23/2011, 1:57pm  ET

GAITHERSBURG, Md. - Officials say everything went smoothly on opening day for approximately 11 miles of a new toll road linking Maryland's Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

The section of the Intercounty Connector that opened Tuesday runs from Georgia Avenue to just east of Interstate-95. The first seven miles of the $2.55 billion roadway opened in February and driving on the entire 18 miles of the roadway will be toll free until Dec. 4.

Drivers were praising the shorter trips created by the highway but the Maryland Transportation Authority says traffic could be heavy on the new road Wednesday because of holiday travel falling during the toll-free trial period.

Public transit is also a big part of the new ICC. There are two rapid bus routes already in effect and three more coming in January. When they're all up and running, job centers from Frederick down the I-270 corridor across the ICC and up to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport will be connected.

Bus transit could also help out with BRAC. Fort Meade and the National Naval Medical Center are two of the stops.

The remaining stretch of the six-lane highway connecting Gaithersburg and Laurel is expected to be finished in 2014.

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