Montgomery County’s executive is tapping the brakes on the $145 million Montrose Parkway East project.
The project, on the drawing board for years, is a four-lane divided highway between Route 355 in North Bethesda and Veirs Mill Road in the Aspen Hill area and has been at the center of debate over costs and land acquisition.
County Executive Marc Elrich on Wednesday morning released his recommendations for spending on major construction projects over the next five years and construction funds for Montrose Parkway East were cut from the $4.3 billion Capital Improvements Program.
According to Elrich’s recommendations, $12 million is budgeted for the project over the next six years.
In a statement with a summary of Elrich’s proposals, the Montrose project was labeled “too large, too costly and did not present a viable solution.”
Elrich has included some funds “to develop alternative solutions to the local safety and traffic problems,” the statement said.
A year ago, three County Council members urged then County Executive Isiah Leggett to delay the project and look for other ways to relieve congestion on east-west roads in the area.
County Council member Tom Hucker (District 5), who represents eastern parts of the county including Silver Spring and Burtonsville, said Wednesday morning that although he hadn’t seen Elrich’s recommended CIP budget, the council last year determined that the Montrose Parkway East was unnecessary at the time, and that money set aside for the project should be reallocated.
“Montrose Parkway East itself is not a good use of resources, so that’s why council member [Roger] Berliner and I rounded up the majority of the council last year to repurpose money for Montrose Parkway, and we managed to assign that money to other projects that had more urgent needs,” he said.
Extending Montrose Parkway to the east has been on the table for more than a decade and construction was projected to start in 2021 and take about four years.
The work would include a bridge over freight and commuter railroad tracks, Nebel Street, Parklawn Drive and Rock Creek. Spanning the parkland had raised environmental concerns over the years.
Elrich’s recommended CIP budget needs approval by the County Council which is scheduled to hold a public hearing Feb. 5.