Washington Outer Beltway

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The Washington Outer Beltway was a proposed freeway that would have extended further out than the Capital Beltway and encircled Washington, D.C. through the states of Maryland and Virginia.

A 1964 plan proposed by a consultant for Prince William County showed a 162-mile (261 km) freeway passing by Quantico, Manassas, Leesburg, Poolesville, upper Montgomery County, Fort Meade, southeastern Prince George's County, and La Plata.[1][2] Most of the route was canceled in the 1980s. Parts of it have been built as the Fairfax County Parkway in Virginia[3] and the Intercounty Connector in Maryland.[4]

The Techway is a proposal for a limited-access highway across the Potomac River between Fairfax County, Virginia, and Montgomery County, Maryland.[5] The project's name refers to connecting the high-tech firms in Herndon and Reston, Virginia, with the biotechnology companies in Gaithersburg and Rockville, Maryland.[6] The Techway proposal would construct a limited-access highway and bridge linking Virginia State Route 28 north of Washington Dulles International Airport to the western terminus of I-370 in Gaithersburg, Maryland. To avoid criticism that such a project would encourage urban sprawl, the proponents advocated having very few interchanges on the route and emphasizing its use in making Dulles Airport and the associated office buildings in its vicinity more convenient to residents of northern Montgomery County that currently use the American Legion Memorial Bridge.

In 2000, Congress authorized $2,000,000 to conduct a feasibility study of the Techway.[7] Congressman Frank Wolf, one of the primary sponsors of the study, asked that the study be canceled the next year because homes in his Congressional district would have to be destroyed in order to build the Techway.[7][8][9] U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta agreed to cancel the study, saying it would be a waste of money to continue studying a bridge that would never be built.[10] Virginia Governor James S. Gilmore III asked Mineta to reconsider, but the study was cancelled.[11]

In 2004, a Virginia Department of Transportation traffic study of the American Legion Bridge showed that a significant portion of bridge users traveled between points west of that bridge, reviving the Techway concept.[8] In addition, the Techway project was also discussed in connection with Maryland Route 200 that will extend I-370 to the east to US 1. The combination of the Techway and this other extension would go a long way to form a Western Bypass of Washington, D.C. for north-south traffic on I-95. Also in 2004, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing any bridge, citing concerns about destruction of existing neighborhoods, damage to parkland along the Potomac River, the need to protect the county's 90,000-acre (360 km2) Agricultural Reserve,[12] and its conflicting with the master plan for Potomac.[13]

As of 2011, the Techway project is not funded and not under active study.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eisen, Jack (April 22, 1964). "Third Belt Freeway Envisioned for D.C.: Originator of Plan". The Washington Post. p. B10.
  2. ^ Kopper, Philip (June 18, 1964). "3d Beltway Endorsed by Plans Group". The Washington Post. p. B1.
  3. ^ O'Donoghue, Julia (September 16, 2010). "The End Of The Road". The Burke Connection.
  4. ^ Byrne, Michael (March 26, 2009). "Maryland's Highway To Nowhere?". City Paper. Baltimore, Maryland.
  5. ^ Vause, Mary (October 24, 2006). "Dems Unite after Contentious Primary - Republican challengers emphasize fiscal responsibility and traffic projects". The Potomac Almanac.
  6. ^ Drummond, Daniel F. (May 16, 2001). "'Techway' bridge plan misunderstood, federal agency says". The Washington Times. p. C1.
  7. ^ a b "2003 Year in Review: The Techway". The Potomac Almanac. January 8, 2004.
  8. ^ a b Ginsberg, Steven (May 11, 2004). "Traffic Study Renews 'Techway' Debate". Washington Post. p. B01. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  9. ^ "Cancelled Techway Bridge study sparks battle". Fleet Owner. Sep 12, 2001. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  10. ^ "Potomac Bridge Study Will Not Be Revived". Associated Press. Richmond Times-Dispatch. June 8, 2001. p. B3.
  11. ^ Drummond, Daniel F. (June 1, 2001). "Gilmore urges Techway review - Asks Mineta to revive study". The Washington Times.
  12. ^ Cetron, Ari (September 28, 2005). "Three Men and a Bridge - Each of the major candidates for governor express support for controversial Techway bridge". The Burke Connection.
  13. ^ Scofield, Alex (June 30, 2004). "Council Restates Opposition to 'Techway' Bridge". The Potomac Almanac.