ANNAPOLIS, MD—Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has announced $100 million in funding through the Maryland’s Final FY 2023-2028 Consolidated Transportation Program to advance the I-81 Phase 2 project in Washington County into construction. The I-81 Phase 2 project has long been a top priority for Western Maryland and will support economic and job growth, improve safety, ease congestion, and reinforce supply chain reliability for Maryland and the entire region.
“Our administration has been committed to making these transformative improvements to the I-81 corridor from day one, because it is such a critical economic lifeline for the communities and businesses of Western Maryland, and it is vital to our interstate supply chain,” said Governor Hogan. “We are proud to move this project forward in spite of federal inaction, and look forward to seeing all the jobs and opportunities it will deliver for the region. This is another way we are keeping our promises and changing Maryland for the better.”
The Phase 2 project will improve safety and traffic operations along four miles of I-81 between MD 63/MD 68 (Lappans Road) and the CSX bridges north of Halfway Boulevard, including widening of the interstate from four to six lanes to provide one additional lane in each direction.
During the Hogan administration, the state has collaborated with local officials, federal partners and neighboring states to complete construction of I-81 Phase 1, which improved the highway from West Virginia to MD 63/MD 68. The state has also delivered related system preservation projects in the corridor and funded design and engineering for I-81 Phase 2.
Governor Hogan’s announcement for I-81 Phase 2 funding follows a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation that the project was not selected for federal assistance through the new Rural Surface Transportation Grant Program. Following the federal decision, the governor directed Maryland Department of Transportation officials to develop alternatives to advance the project.
“Improvements to I-81 are vital to prepare Maryland for the growth we know is coming to the logistics and supply chain network from good-paying jobs in Baltimore City at Maryland’s Port of Baltimore to jobs in Western Maryland at growing logistic centers,” said MDOT Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. “This commitment from Governor Hogan is an investment in the future and will pay dividends here in Maryland and across the region for generations to come.”
The I-81 improvements complement the ongoing Howard Street Tunnel expansion project in Baltimore, which will bring double stack capacity for container railcars and increase demand for trucks delivering freight across Maryland’s highway network. Much of that freight comes through Maryland’s Port of Baltimore, a prime gateway for goods heading to the e-commerce market and for cargo heading to the Midwest by rail and throughout the Mid-Atlantic and neighboring states by truck.
The I-81 Phase 2 project also includes two new electric vehicle (EV) charging locations to support and encourage expansion of EV truck fleets by providing charging infrastructure convenient to both I-81 and I-70.