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Next phase of Montrose Parkway plan set to open

Further progress on a major road project in Montgomery County: This weekend, a new phase of the interchange at Rockville Pike/Randolph Road/Montrose Parkway is scheduled to open.

The $47.2 million interchange, which got started in summer 2008, is being built in conjunction with the new parkway. The interchange is scheduled to be done late next fall, but a few weeks ago, the eastbound traffic pattern was reconfigured. Next up is the shift for westbound traffic. Starting at 7 p.m. Friday, westbound traffic on Randolph Road will be diverted to the new parkway.

Planners designed the interchange and Montrose Parkway West to ease traffic congestion and smooth travel between I-270 and Rockville Pike in North Bethesda. Many commuters and nearby residents have disputed the value of the program. For example, I recently got a letter saying that the timing of traffic signals along the parkway is backing up traffic on the side streets. Others have questioned the overall concept.

But the project is well-underway, and here's what drivers will encounter starting this weekend, depending on their approach to the interchange.

Randolph Road
If you're heading west on Randolph, and you want to reach I-270, just stay straight and you'll wind up on the parkway, which connects with I-270. If you're westbound and want to reach Montrose Road, make an immediate right after passing under Rockville Pike onto what's known as "old" Old Georgetown Road. Then make a left onto Montrose Road. Motorists will no longer be able to cross over the pike to reach Montrose Road.

Drivers on westbound Randolph Road who want to head north or south on the pike also will follow westbound Montrose Parkway, then make an immediate right onto "old" Old Georgetown Road and then another right onto Montrose Road to reach Rockville Pike.

(Remember, we're a year away from completion of the interchange. Then there's also the planned construction of Montrose Parkway East to Viers Mill Road. For now, the pattern will be easy for drivers connecting between the parkway and Randolph Road, but it will take some getting used to if you're going for the other options.)

Rockville Pike
Drivers on northbound Rockville Pike who want to reach westbound Montrose Road will use the new exit ramp to Montrose Parkway/Randolph Road. At the bottom of the ramp, drivers will make a left at the new signal onto westbound Montrose Parkway and then make an immediate right onto "old" Old Georgetown Road and another right onto Montrose Road where they will turn left at Rockville Pike. Drivers will no longer be able to turn left from Rockville Pike onto Montrose Road.

Montrose Road
There's no change in the traffic pattern for drivers traveling on eastbound Montrose Road who want to head north or south on Rockville Pike.

In case of bad weather
If the switch is delayed past Sunday, it will be rescheduled after Jan. 2, to get past the holidays.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 15, 2009; 3:48 PM ET
Categories:  Construction , Driving  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Montgomery County transportation, Montrose Parkway  
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Having grown up in this area, and visiting recently, I find the whole Montrose Parkway a menace to the neighborhoods it intrudes upon. While I understand growth and development, surely there had to be a better way than to impede upon the citizens of this area by building a highway through their yards. Housing prices are down already - who in this area will ever be able to sell with a highway through their neighborhood???

Posted by: brownecm | December 15, 2009 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I live just off of East Jefferson Street. I think the Montrose Parkway project is great, although I'm pretty taken back by the cost. I haven't seen any problems with traffic backing up on the side streets. I mean, traffic is heavy and backups occur, but its no worse than before the Parkway opened as far as I can tell.

Things were a little rough during the construction of Montrose Parkway West. Traffic was really bad then, and East Jefferson Street would get horribly backed up. But, now that it has opened my commute has gotten marginally easier than before construction started. There really aren't any traffic backups in the direction I go, which wasn't the case before.

It seems to me this county desperately needs better east-west routes. There really aren't any right now. Roads like 108, 198 and Randolph Road are not well suited for the volume and speed of traffic that they get. It's not safe for anyone- the people driving on those roads or the people living off of them. So, I'm glad that projects like Montrose Parkway and the ICC are finally getting pushed through. And I think they should drop the speed limits on 108 and 198 once they get some better routes that make it all the way over to I-95.

Posted by: reggie14 | December 15, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

A map would really be helpful with articles like this.

Posted by: patinlaurel | December 16, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

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