FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 1, 2015
CREWS READY FOR FORECASTED RAIN/WIND & POTENTIAL HURRICANE JOAQUIN IMPACTS
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The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), the agency that finances, owns, operates and maintains the State's eight toll facilities, is prepared for the heavy rains predicted to start overnight and continue through the weekend. MDTA crews are ready for severe weather that could bring dangerous driving conditions to Maryland.
Drive only when necessary. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not hazardous road conditions. Wind gusts are unpredictable no matter how experienced of a driver you are. SLOW DOWN and keep both hands on the steering wheel. Turn on your vehicle's lights to increase your visibility to other motorists.
Anticipate standing water on roadways. Turn around, don't drown. Stay alert and use caution.
Be prepared for possible bridge wind warnings or restrictions. On all MDTA bridges, wind warnings and restrictions would be implemented as outlined below:
- Wind Warnings (sustained wind speeds of 30-39 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 30 mph over a period of 15 mins) operators of house trailers, box trailers, motorcycles, vehicles with roof-mount racks containing cargo or any other vehicle that may be subject to high winds are advised to use caution while traveling across the bridge.
- Limited Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds of 40-49 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 40 mph over a period of 15 mins) house trailers, empty box trailers or any vehicle that, in the opinion of law-enforcement personnel, may not safely cross the bridge will be prohibited from traveling the bridge. Motorists who are denied passage will be assisted with safely turning around.
- Full Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds exceeding 50 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 50 mph over a period of 15 mins) only automobiles, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses and heavy-laden tractor/trailers are permitted to cross the bridge. Tractor-box trailer combinations will not be permitted to cross any bridge if the gross weight is less than 64,000 pounds.
- Traffic Holds/Bridge Closure (sustained wind speeds exceeding 55 mph for a continuous period of 10 mins or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 55 mph over a period of 15 mins) In the event of a sudden increase of sustained wind speeds or wind gusts that could jeopardize life or property, the MDTA may elect to discontinue the movement of all traffic across the bridge.
In the event of inclement weather at the Bay Bridge, the MDTA will be unable to implement two-way traffic (when one lane of eastbound traffic travels on the westbound span). This may result in significant eastbound delays Friday and Saturday.
As the MDTA prepares for potentially severe weather, it has no immediate plans to close any toll facilities in anticipation of the storm. Any decision to close a toll facility would be based upon current weather and road conditions at a given facility. The MDTA will make every effort to keep all of its facilities open as long as conditions are deemed safe to do so.
To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov. Know Before You Go! Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 conditions at the Bay Bridge. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA. Call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information.
The MDTA reminds motorists to avoid traveling if possible.