Julian Jones Jr. is accustomed to seeing three towering expressways rise from the horizon and sprawl in different directions when he drives between his Woodstock home and Baltimore and Towson.
The District 4 Baltimore County Council member, like many Baltimore-area commuters, is often trapped in a jam at the interchange where Interstate 695, known as the Baltimore Beltway, converges with Interstate 70.
“Plenty of times in both directions,” said Jones, who represents west Baltimore County communities, of the traffic. “It’s not so bad getting on I-70 from the Beltway. But coming off I-70 going to the Beltway is always a problem.”
Maryland residents will have an opportunity Tuesday to give their opinions on a transportation project that aims to fix the tangle of highway ramps and overpasses that often causes severe delays.
The agency is seeking public input on the project’s design and construction in a virtual meeting from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. An in-person open house will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Southwest Academy, located at 6200 Johnnycake Road in Woodlawn.
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The “Triple Bridges” project is part of Gov. Larry Hogan’s Traffic Relief Plan, which focuses on improving traffic congestion in the Baltimore region. Designed 50 years ago, the I-695/I-70 Interchange can’t handle the amount of traffic that currently flows through it, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration.
MDOT SHA officials are looking for opinions on the interchange’s structural style and landscaping, along with general feedback on the entire project. All of the interchange’s aging bridges will be replaced as part of the project, which is still in the planning phase, the agency said. It is also in the process of preparing an environmental impact document.
“Public input is important to shape project parameters, which will set a standard or objective for design and construction,” said Danny Allman, a highway administration spokesperson, in a statement. “Public outreach will continue throughout the project, however, now is the time to provide input that will impact the design and construction.”
Residents also can take an online survey on the project’s needs at MDOT’s website. The survey closes Dec. 1.
Once the State Highway Administration finishes designing the project, it will advertise and award a single contract to have it built. The planning phase is expected to be completed in 2023, the agency said.
Jones, who lives in Woodstock, sometimes bypasses the miles-long backup that can occur at the interchange by taking longer, scenic routes home. It’s a trade-off to sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic, he said.
“I’m happy to see [MDOT] do something,” he said.
A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Baltimore County Council member Julian Jones Jr.'s district. He represents District 4. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.