I-270 sign

I-270 sign

​(June 22, 2021) – The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) will turn on the new ramp meter system for testing tomorrow, June 23, on the ramp from northbound MD 118 to southbound I-270 in the Germantown area of Montgomery County. Ramp metering is a part of the I-270 Innovative Congestion Management (ICM) project that is working to help reduce congestion on this busy interstate.

During this week-long testing period, the traffic signal at the end of the ramp, which has been flashing yellow since June 16, will display red, green or flash yellow, depending on traffic conditions. The ramp meter will be fully activated at this location for about one week to test the data. After that time, the signals will be deactivated as crews establish signals on the remaining  I-270 southbound ramps. 

The ramp metering system uses sensors that detect real-time traffic conditions and activate traffic signals when needed. This allows motorists to merge safely onto I-270, while minimizing delays and reducing congestion.

When ramp metering is in operation:

  • Motorists will see a warning sign with flashing beacons.
  • When the beacons are activated, motorists should be prepared to stop at the stop line.
  • Once the signal turns green, drivers may proceed on the ramp and merge onto the highway.
  • The signal will allow one car at a time to go from each lane, optimizing traffic flow onto I-270.

When ramp metering is not in operation, the advanced beacons will be dark and the traffic signal will flash yellow, allowing motorists to proceed without stopping. The ramp metering signals will have the capability to operate between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily and are anticipated to be active during peak-traffic hours and when traffic congestion is present on I-270. Motorists are advised to use caution and prepare to stop on a red signal.

Following this test and evaluation, MDOT SHA plans to establish ramp metering at 23 southbound I-270 ramps, tentatively by the end of summer 2021, and at 22 northbound I-270 ramps in 2022. By 2023, ramp metering will be in effect on 45 ramps along I-270. For more information and to view a map and ramp metering visualization video, click HERE.

While the system is a first for Maryland, ramp meters have been used elsewhere and are a proven, cost-effective tool to help address congestion and safety by regulating traffic flow onto the highway. Ramp metering is one element of the I-270 ICM Project that Governor Larry Hogan announced in 2016 to provide congestion and improve travel times throughout the 34.4-mile I-270 corridor from I-70 to I-495. Other elements include additional auxiliary lanes between interchanges; extension of acceleration and deceleration lanes and reconfiguration and restriping of existing lanes to optimize traffic operations.

The I-270 ICM Project is separate from the Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-​370 Relief Plan, which proposes to replace the 60-year-old American Legion Bridge and provide two managed High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes from the bridge to I-270, and north on I-270 to I-370. While separate, the two initiatives would work in tandem as part of a multi-faceted traffic relief  approach for the region. The I-270 ICM Project provides congestion relief and travel time savings along the I-270 corridor The Phase 1 South: American Legion Bridge I-270 to I-370 Relief Plan offers a public-private partnership to replace the aging bridge and provide new opportunities for transit and ridesharing, bike/pedestrian connections as well as congestion relief for the National Capital region.

MDOT SHA works hard to maintain safe traffic mobility in work zones for our crews as well as our customers.  Drivers need to stay alert, focus on driving and, look for reduced speed limits, as well as other driving pattern changes.  Drive like you work here and slow down in construction zones.

For a list of all major MDOT SHA projects, go to Project Portal. Visit our homepage at roads.maryland.gov. For a look at real-time traffic conditions, go to md511.maryland.gov.

Editor’s Note

From intersection improvements to widening and new interchange construction, MDOT SHA is investing in projects to enhance the commute and daily travel for millions of Marylanders.  MDOT SHA maintains more than 2,500 bridges and 17,000 miles of non-toll state roads – the interstate, US and state numbered routes in Maryland’s 23 counties.