Today the ribbon lay in two — tomorrow two major counties will be joined by one enormous roadway. At 6 a.m. Tuesday, the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 is scheduled to make a giant expansion, connecting I-270/I-370 to I-95 near Laurel — opening up two additional contract areas of the ICC.
In February 2011, the segment designated as Contract A opened, which connected the 5.65 mile segment from I-270/I-370 to Georgia Avenue in Rockville/Olney. Tomorrow an additional segment will open, mapped out as both Contract B and Contract C. The additional 10-mile segment will pick up where the last segment left off, at Georgia Avenue, extending the east end of the ICC all the way to I-95.
For now it's a free ride until December 4 at midnight. This includes both the previously opened segment and the new segment. At 12:01 a.m. on December 5 that changes, according to Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) spokesperson Kelly Melhem, who explained the hours, pricing and surcharge:
Peak Weekday Hours
It will cost cars and light trucks .25 per mile to travel the ICC during the peak hours: 6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.
Overnight Weekday Hours
It will cost cars and light trucks .10 per mile during the overnight hours: 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Off-Peak Weekday Hours
The toll is .20 per mile for cars and light trucks during all other weekday hours, which are counted as off-peak: including 5 to 6 a.m., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday Hours
On the weekend off-peak changes for cars and light trucks, the hours become: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are no peak hours. And overnight hours are: 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Pricing and Surcharge System
The price adds up to $4 on weekdays for cars and light trucks that drive the distance, I-270/I-370 to I-95, during peak hours. That is for drivers with E-ZPass.
There are no toll booths, so drivers without E-ZPass will get a bill in the mail plus a video surcharge or Video Toll Rate (VRT). The surcharge is calculated by taking the greater of — either a $1 minimum or an amount adding up to 50 percent more than the E-ZPass rate. The bill goes to the registered driver of the vehicle based on the license plate.
In the case of a car or light truck going the distance from I-270/I-370 to I-95 for $4 during peak hours, 50 percent more adds up to $2, which is clearly greater than the $1 minimum surcharge. And the surcharge is the greater between the two. So the total charge for the trip would be $6.
But in a shorter trip, where a 50 percent addition would be less than a $1, motorists would get the greater, $1, added to the E-ZPass rate.
There's a maximum VRT of $15, but Melhem said that would not affect cars or light trucks, it instead gives a price break to very large trucks, such as those with five and six axels.
The ICC now accommodates about 15,000 vehicles a day, including weekdays and weekends, according to Melhem.
When the new segment opens, the MTA projects 20,000 vehicles on weekdays in the first few months, Melhem said, adding that the projection grows to 25,000 to 30,000 around June of 2012.
“After five decades of debate and discussion, we are now celebrating the opening of a state-of-the-art roadway that connects the I-270 high-tech corridor and the I-95 business corridor,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, who helped cut the ribbon.