This story was updated at 11:30 a.m.
With I-95 as a backdrop, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker (D) Tuesday announced an agreement that will lead to the construction of the final portion of the Intercounty Connector and an I-95 interchange with Contee Road in Laurel.
The agreement between the state, the county and private developers would also extend Virginia Manor Road for access to Konterra, a 2,200-acre mixed-use development located in Laurel. The first phase of the project is slated to begin in 2012.
When Konterra is completed, it’s projected that 30,000 jobs will have been created, in addition to $95 million in annual tax revenue generated for the state and county, according to O'Malley.
“This innovative agreement benefits the public sector, the private sector and most importantly, the citizens of Prince George’s County and the state of Maryland by creating jobs and fueling economic progress in this area,” O’Malley said at the event. “Together, we can create thousands of jobs and drive hundreds of millions in economic activity to an important region that is growing even in tough economic times.”
Baker said the project will only benefit Prince George's County and Laurel.
“You hear that sound?,” Baker said, referring to the I-95 traffic behind him. “That’s the sound of jobs coming our way.”
Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe said the highway projects and Konterra would benefit the city in two ways.
“The interchange will be very helpful to make sure traffic goes around Laurel, and there should be a spinoff of jobs for the city.”
The agreement ends four years of negotiations between the state and Konterra’s owners, which included Maryland’s eminent domain process to take land from the developers.
Under the arrangement, Konterra agreed to donate 240 acres of land for the ICC and an additional 80 acres for other highway improvements. Prince George’s County will construct Virginia Manor Road Extended.
Besides providing additional access to Konterra, Virginia Manor Road Extended will connect the ICC/Virginia Manor Road interchange with the new I-95/Contee Road interchange.
The first portion of the ICC--between I-370 in Shady Grove and Md. 97 in Olney--opened in February. The sections from Md. 97 to I-95 in Laurel are expected to open later this year or in early 2012. The phase announced Tuesday-- from I-95 to Virginia Manor Road--is slated to be finished by late 2014.
Konterra, which is in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, is planned to include a town center, retail and hospitality venues, technology campuses, educational institutions and residential and business communities.
Additional information about the agreements and various projects can found at http://www.sha.maryland.gov/pages/release.aspx?newsId=881 and http://www.konterra.com/.