PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. — The March 28 Capital Beltway crash that effectively shut down the American Legion Bridge over the Potomac River is being remembered as one of the worst rush hours in recent memory. Now, Maryland officials say improvements to the bridge will be a top priority in a new multi-billion dollar highway project.

On Thursday night in Landover, the Maryland Department of Transportation held its first in a series of eight public workshops on Governor Larry Hogan’s $9 billion infrastructure improvement project. The work focuses on widening I-495 and I-270 which could include the addition of high occupancy toll lanes. State officials are now seeking the public’s help in deciding on one of six possible design options.

“We have six options that are evaluating,” said Lisa Choplin, director of the I-495 and I-270 P3 office, which did traffic and environmental studies. “We’re really here to share that information with the public.”

The state says work could take place in three phases, beginning as soon as 2020. The first, on I-495 from the George Washington Parkway to I-95 could potentially cause the relocation of 34 homes. The second phase, on I-270 from I-495 to I-370. The third phase, on I-495 from I-95 to Maryland Route 5.

“Maryland needs to address congestion in the DC region,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Greg Slater. “If we don’t find a solution now, Marylanders will be sitting in traffic for many years to come – and that would be unfortunate.”

Maryland highway officials have added two workshops in May, in addition to six in April. The workshops will be held at the following dates and times:

Thursday, April 11, 2019
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex
8001 Sheriff Rd.
Landover, MD 20785

Saturday, April 13, 2019
10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Pyle Middle School
6311 Wilson Ln.
Bethesda, MD 20817

Tuesday, April 23, 2019
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Eleanor Roosevelt High School
7601 Hanover Pkwy
Greenbelt, MD 20770

Wednesday, April 24, 2019
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Eastern Middle School
300 University Blvd, East
Silver Spring, MD 20901

Thursday, April 25, 2019
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Thomas Wootton High School
2100 Wootton Pkwy
Rockville, MD 20850

Saturday, April 27, 2019
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Suitland Community Center
5600 Regency Lane
Suitland-Silver Hill, MD 20746

Tuesday, May 14, 2019
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
6701 Leyte Drive
Oxon Hill, MD 20745

Thursday, May 16, 2019
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Seneca Valley High School
19401 Crystal Rock Drive
Germantown, MD 20874