Konterra road construction taxing for Laurel area residents and businesses -- Gazette.Net


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Residents and businesses near the upcoming 2,200-acre Konterra development near West Laurel say they’re battling traffic problems as the State Highway Administration continues to work on the access road to the development, which they will make the commute easier for future businesses and customers.

The SHA began construction on the two-mile I-95 interchange with Contee Road near state Route 198 in winter 2011, said SHA spokeswoman Kellie Boulware.

This interchange will tie into the final phase of the Intercounty Connector, a toll road that will link Prince George’s I-95 and U.S. Route 1 corridors with Montgomery County’s I-370, she said.

“During peak hours, between 7 and 9 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m., traffic’s always been extremely terrible. Now, it’s even worse,” said Amanda Stewart, operations assistant for Central Wholesalers, a company on Virginia Manor Road, which neighbors the construction area. The company provides wholesale interior equipment for residents and businesses.

She said the company advised employees to leave earlier or stay later to avoid congestion. Driving into the parking lot has also been difficult, Stewart said.

Jibike Addewale, a resident of Wilshire Estates off Contee Road since 2007, said the traffic typically doesn’t impact her, but occasionally it can be a burden.

“... When they were uprooting the trees, it took me five or 10 minutes to get out,” she said.

The interchange will also support Konterra, a mixed use development plans for more than 600 homes and 550,000 acres of commercial space, according to its website.

Konterra representatives did not return several requests for comment about the project’s progress.

“Hopefully, when this is done, it will make traffic easier. If it brings new customers, good,” Stewart said, referring to potential benefits from Konterra.

Don Nguyen, another resident of Wilshire Estates since 2007, said he looks forward to the interchange and thinks it will help minimize any traffic increases that might result from the Konterra.

Mike Seddon, director of operations at BioServe Biotechnologies in the Alexandria Technology Center off Virginia Manor Road, said he is concerned the roadwork won’t be sufficient enough to handle the increase in traffic when Kontrerra is built.

Parts of northbound I-95 have been closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. since February so that workers can set the steel structure for a new four-lane Contee Road Extended Bridge over northbound I-95, which is expected to meet increased traffic demand from Konterra, Boulware said.

She said the total Contee Road project is 45 percent complete, but there could also be daytime road closures later in the spring so that workers can pave the bridge.

The roadwork is slated for completion in the fall of 2014, she said.

lrobbins@gazette.net