Some participants at our first Burtonsville Community Charrette suggested a bypass road north of MD 198 as a way to divert through traffic, including trucks and speeding vehicles, away from Burtonsville's "main street".
Considering that many residents believe the MD 198 bypass harmed local businesses, it was a surprising for someone to suggest another bypass. However, the Coalition to Fix MD 198 wants to encourage the free flow of ideas, so we took a closer look at this potential solution.
First off, a bypass could potentially reduce traffic volumes significantly. Based on an analysis of traffic data from the State Highway Administration, approximately 30% of westbound traffic on MD 198 comes from US 29A (the segment of Old Columbia Pike between Dustin Road and MD 198).
However, no such bypass road exists in the Master Plan, so it is extremely unlikely to get built. The 1991 Fairland Master Plan did include a "Rear Loop Access Road", which was intended for circulation of customers and deliveries more so than for through-traffic.
Nevertheless, one resident insisted that a bypass road north of MD 198 was at one point planned for the area. Our research indicates that he may have been referring to a proposed "northern alignment" of the Inter-County Connector (ICC/MD 200), shown below, which never got built due to local opposition. Since the ICC was built further south, the plans for the northern highway were scrapped.
Since then, Montgomery County has taken efforts to protect the forested areas north of Burtonsville from development, making major road construction nearly impossible.
The 2012 Burtonsville Crossroads Neighborhood Plan established a "Rural Edge" north of the elementary school and shopping centers, with the intent of retaining/enhancing forest cover and protecting the Patuxent River, our drinking water source. The Plan limits development to 8% impervious in the Rural Edge.
Additionally, in 2015 the County purchased the Mangums Branch Property, a 36-acre area of forested land in the Rural Edge, with the intent of permanently preserving it from development. This parkland acquisition, shown below, essentially prevents any bypass roads from being built north of Burtonsville Town Square.
For the reasons above, it appears extremely unlikely that a second bypass road would be constructed anytime in the near future.