Yes VIRGINIA, There ARE Plans to expand Route 15 In Maryland!
One of the pages out of the playbook that the “special interest no growthers” often turn to is repeatedly stating at public hearings, public assemblies and even writing such dribble in local newspapers’ letters to the editor, is that “Maryland has no intention of doing anything on their side of the Point of Rocks Bridge to widen Route 15!” Well, once again thanks to the tireless efforts of our research team, they have uncovered a 2018 Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) planning document titled “The Highway Needs Inventory (HNI)” that totally dispels one of the most oft repeated false narratives employed by these “special interest no growth” groups.
The MDOT HNI report lists out 18 distinct road projects in Frederick County, Maryland. Of the 18 projects, 11 are top priority AND four of these top priority projects are for expanding Route 15!
We at Fix Route 15 Now strive to bring out the facts and information for residents to consider when seeking answers to their questions about Route 15 North of the Town of Leesburg up to the Maryland state line. There is so much false and misleading information being spread by the “special interest no growth” organizations and elected officials it is often a challenge for residents to separate fact from the false narratives. Fix Route 15 Now has always based our positions on the facts and linked to the source documents backing up those positions.
The MDOT HNI planning document pierces the veil of false and misleading information trumpeted by these groups that Maryland has no plans to fix Route 15! In fact, they are already planning on spending nearly $400 million to do so from the Point of Rocks Bridge (i.e. Potomac River up to Route 340)!
The MDOT HNI is updated every 2 years by the Regional and Intermodal Planning Division, Office of Planning and Preliminary Engineering, within the Maryland Department of Transportation. Please see the full Frederick County Maryland HNI report at https://www.roads.maryland.gov/oppen/hni_Fr.pdf
Below is a table that summarizes the four Route 15 projects that are contained in the above referenced HNI report. The table contains the specific HNI report page #s and map reference #s; the route names and area limits, length, improvement type and estimated costs.
|Map Pg #||Map Ref #||Route – Route Name Limits||Length (miles)||Improvement Type||Cost ($Mil.)|
|8||15||US 15 – Catoctin Mountain Highway Potomac River to US 340||7.2||Freeway reconstruct (includes interchanges and access control improvements)||$368M|
|8||1||MD 26 – Liberty Road US 15 – (Catoctin Mount. Hwy) to MD 194 (Woodsboro Pike)||2.1||Multi-lane reconstruct, including a grade separation at Monocacy Blvd.||$136M|
|6||5||US 15 – Jefferson National Pike US 340 West Split to I-70||4.1||Freeway reconstruct with interchanges||$64M|
|6||6||US 15 – Frederick Freeway US to North of Biggs Ford Rd.40||6.4||Freeway reconstruct with interchanges||$792M|
Just like the “special interest no growthers” have falsely stated that Maryland owned the Point of Rocks Bridge, which a concerned citizen debunked by presenting documentation that the bridge is jointly owned by Virginia and Maryland, the MDOT HNI report fully debunks the “special interest no growthers” false claim that “Maryland has no intention of doing anything on their side of the Point of Rocks Bridge to widen Route 15”! For further reference, regarding the POR bridge being jointly owned by Virginia and Maryland, please see the link below from our earlier post about the bridge.