ICC drivers could see higher speed limit

Drivers using the Intercounty Connector in Maryland could soon go up to 70 mph if legislation becomes law in Annapolis.

Two House delegates and many drivers say 55 mph is just way too slow, especially considering that the ICC costs $8 round trip during peak hours. Instead of 70 mph, others say an increase to 60 mph is more likely to happen.

House Delegate Aruna Miller of Montgomery County is pushing legislation to raise the maximum speed limit on Maryland interstates and expressways to 70 mph and local drivers welcome the higher speed.

If passed, the legislation would also apply to the Intercounty Connector where drivers say the current 55 mph results in dangerous tailgating, excessive ticket enforcement and less drivers overall using the toll road because the shortcut is not worth the cost.

“When you’re going 55 mph, you’re not saving as much time as you should,” says Scott Eaton.

And despite the possible increase in traffic noise, even residents who live along the ICC support an increase speed limit.

“Anything’s better than 55 mph. You know it’s a brand new road. Why couldn’t it do that?” asks Doug Harper.

But some think 55 mph is fast enough.

“I just think it’s a lot safer,” says Kathy Rivers. “I guess a lot of people think it should be 60 mph but then people do 70 mph. If it’s 55 mph then that means people are still doing 65 mph."

While Delegate Miller promotes her bill, her Montgomery County neighbor, Senator Jennie Forehand, has her own legislation: increasing the speed limit from 55 mph to 60 mph, which she says is more realistic and more likely to get support from the Maryland Transportation Authority and Governor Martin O’Malley.

“I think if it passed at 70 mph or even at 65 mph it might be vetoed because of the department’s opposing,” says Senator Forehand.

The MDTA says the ICC was designed for speeds of up to 60 mph and pending the results of a crash study set for release in February, MDTA will likely recommend the toll road’s speed limit to go up to 60 mph, regardless of legislation.