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Intercounty Connector Will Open Tuesday

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Our area and Maryland's D.C. suburbs are about to be connected like never before when a multi-billion dollar new toll road, the Intercounty Connector, opens Tuesday.

Mike Hellgren reports on the impact to Baltimore.

This road is historic: it's the first all-electronic toll road in the state. But it's also expensive.

There's no stopping to pay the toll---just roll underneath the electric eyes on the ICC and the state charges your E-ZPass.

The east-west tollway connects I-95 with I-270. The last section opens Tuesday. You enter just south of the Howard County line.

It follows decades of headaches and fighting.

State leaders believe the ICC will be a critical bridge between development in Montgomery County and Baltimore.

"This highway is really going to open up the Baltimore region to the D.C. region," said Beverley K. Swaim-Staley, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation.

"You won't have to slow down at all. You can use the E-ZPass system, which is used all up and down the East Coast," said U.S. Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari.

But there were boos at the ribbon cutting by some who feel it's too expensive and are upset that at least one politician used the event to push for a gas tax increase.

"Tolls are being raised across the state and the tunnels in Baltimore, partly to pay for the ICC," said protester Greg Smith. "Now they're going to have the nerve to come back and ask for a gas tax increase in Annapolis and all they've done is put us in a death spiral."

It will cut the travel time from Gaithersburg to BWI in half---but not without a price. It's $4 to travel the length during peak times, $3.20 off-peak and $1.60 overnight. It's more if you don't have E-ZPass, because they'll have to mail you the bill.

It opens at 6 a.m. Tuesday and you can drive the ICC for free until Dec. 4. The MTA is also providing bus service down the ICC corridor.

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