DOT News Public Affairs Masthead

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, July 6, 1999
Contact: Karen Whitney
Tel.: 202-366-0660
FHWA 44-99

Reconstruction on Final Segment
Of B-W Parkway to Begin Today

Wrapping up a month-long commemoration of the first anniversary since President Clinton signed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), Federal Highway Administrator Ken Wykle today announced the start of reconstruction on the final segment of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Work is scheduled to begin today (July 6) and will be completed in the spring of 2002.

Wykle announced the start of reconstruction on the Route 197 Interchange and saluted the progress made in implementing TEA-21, which provided $11.25 million of the $20.1 million needed to advance the project. An innovative financing arrangement developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the National Park Service helped to cut construction costs by $3 million and will allow the project to be completed four years ahead of schedule.

"The impact of TEA-21 on Maryland underscores President Clinton’s vision of transportation as more than concrete, asphalt and steel: it is the means by which Americans get to where they need to go: to jobs, to schools and to markets, to take advantage of all the opportunities our great nation offers," U.S. Transportation Secretary Rodney E. Slater said. "In an unprecedented way, TEA-21 is putting people first and helping to rebuild America, improve safety, protect the environment, spur the economy and expand opportunity."

The project will include a number of features designed to improve traffic flow and enhance safety at the Route 197 interchange, including new ramps for improved access, new signs, additional turn lanes, a divided roadway, and wider shoulders for improved roadside safety and emergency vehicle access.

"This project is an ideal example of how well this landmark surface transportation legislation is working," Wykle said. "The Baltimore-Washington Parkway is a vital part of this region’s transportation network and we are proud of the federal-state partnership that has enabled us to reach this milestone even sooner than expected."

The Baltimore-Washington Parkway has been under reconstruction since the mid 1980s. FHWA has been working closely with the National Park Service, which owns and manages the parkway, and the Maryland Department of Transportation to complete the reconstruction effort.

The Parkway, originally designed to connect federal employees to the area’s four federal centers, Fort Meade, the National Security Agency, the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, was opened in 1954 and carried 20,000 motorists daily. Today, the Parkway carries more than 80,000 motorists a day and connects Maryland commuters to the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, to the MTA and MARC commuter rails lines and to the Washington and Baltimore suburbs.

TEA-21, which President Clinton signed on June 9, 1998, is a six-year surface transportation reauthorization that guarantees about $200 billion to maintain and improve America’s surface transportation systems for the 21st century. TEA-21 continues core highway, bridge and transit programs, with balanced investment for highways, transit, rail, and intermodal projects. TEA-21 focuses on improving safety, rebuilding America, protecting the environment, creating opportunity and ensuring global competitiveness.

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