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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 10, 2016

  

BICYCLISTS GIVEN GREEN LIGHT TO CROSS

HATEM BRIDGE BEGINNING JULY 1

BALTIMORE, MD – At the Annual Bike Maryland Bicycle Symposium in Annapolis, Transportation Secretary and Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Chairman Pete K. Rahn today announced bicyclists will be allowed to ride across the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) starting July 1, 2016.  Currently, the MDTA prohibits bicyclists from traveling on any of its toll facilities.  For years, bicyclists have complained that the Hatem Bridge over the Susquehanna River has been a chokepoint for people attempting to ride the 9/11 Memorial Trail and use the East Coast Greenways from Maine to Florida.

“We have heard your requests and today, the Hogan Administration is delivering by allowing bicyclists to ride on the Hatem Bridge starting July 1,” said Chairman Rahn. 

Since there are no shoulders on the Hatem Bridge, the plan will allow bicyclists to share the right travel lanes with motorists.  A full implementation plan will be developed between now and July 1.  As the plan is developed, the MDTA will be making decisions on:  toll collection, safety signage, travel restrictions based on time of day, and more.

The MDTA is the agency that finances, owns, operates and maintains the State’s eight toll facilities.  The Hatem Bridge is the oldest of the MDTA’s toll facilities.  The 1.3-mile, four-lane bridge opened in August 1940.  The posted speed limit on the Hatem Bridge is 45 mph.

For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.  Find us at mdta.maryland.gov and on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Feb. 8, 2016

  

MDTA CREWS READY FOR WINTER STORM

For real-time updates on major incidents follow @TheMDTA or @MDOTNews on Twitter

#mdotnews

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), the agency that finances, owns, operates and maintains the State's eight toll facilities, is prepared for the winter storm predicted to start later today and continue through late tomorrow night.  MDTA crews are ready for winter weather that could bring dangerous driving conditions to Maryland.  

The MDTA has over 39,000 tons of salt available and will begin salting once snowfall begins.  If you must drive:

  • Do not pass snow plows and salting trucks. 
  • Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions. 
  • Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists. 
  • Remember bridges, overpasses and infrequently traveled roads will freeze first. 
  • If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance. 
  • Stay alert and use caution.

On all MDTA bridges, wind warnings may be implemented as needed.  As the MDTA prepares for potentially severe weather, it has no immediate plans to close any toll facilities.  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!  Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.  Call 511 or visitMD511.org for statewide travel information.  Follow MEMA at twitter/MDMEMA or go to mema.maryland.gov for the latest storm track & preparedness information.

The MDTA reminds motorists to stay alert and use caution if traveling.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Jan. 13, 2016

 

NEW FIRE EXIT SIGNS ARE PROACTIVE

SAFETY MEASURE IN HARBOR TUNNEL

Fort McHenry Tunnel signs installed later this year

FireEX

BALTIMORE, MD - The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) began installing new fire exit signs in the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895) last week. The new signs, which provide evacuation guidance for tunnel occupants during fire emergencies, show a green and white running figure on a green background and indicate the direction of evacuation and distance to tunnel exit.

"The MDTA strives to ensure that Maryland's tunnels meet or exceed the latest national and international tunnel safety guidelines and standards," said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee. "In fact, we implemented this signage after participating on the national research panel headed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program."

The photoluminescent white and green signs include the 'running man' symbol, the message "FIRE EXIT" and dual directional arrows with distances to each exit portal so that occupants know the direction and distance to tunnel exit. The signs indicate two opposite directions and distances because the Harbor Tunnel occasionally operates in a two-way traffic configuration so emergency egress could occur in either direction.

"In Europe, the 'running man' signs are used widely in tunnels and have become a recognizable standard symbol to tunnel occupants to quickly identify emergency exits," said MDTA Chief Engineer Dan Williams. "Now, similar signs are being incorporated into tunnels across our country as a new standard sign."

The MDTA continuously looks for ways to enhance emergency response in tunnels. The plan was reviewed in conjunction with the National Fire Protection Association Standard 502, which provides the fire protection and fire life safety requirements for road tunnels.

Proposed Guidelines for Emergency Exit Signs and Marking Systems for Highway Tunnels

In total, 192 signs - 96 per tube - are being installed approximately every 80 feet along the inner wall of both tubes in the Harbor Tunnel. Installation is nearly complete in the southbound tube. Later this year, a similar signing program will be carried out in the Fort McHenry Tunnel.

The 1.4-mile, four-lane Harbor Tunnel opened in November 1957. Learn more about the Harbor Tunnel at mdta.maryland.gov. For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dec. 22, 2015

Contact: John Sales

410-537-1017

NEW TRUCK TOLL RATES FOR I-895/CHILDS STREET
AND
I-695/BROENING HIGHWAY TURNAROUND JAN. 1

Supports Freight Movement, Port of Baltimore Growth;
Getting Trucks Off Local Community Streets

BALTIMORE, MD - As part of Governor Larry Hogan's Statewide Toll Rollback Plan, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is providing new, lower toll rates for trucks using interstate toll facilities to access the Fairfield, Masonville, Dundalk and Seagirt Marine Terminals.

"Lowering tolls for trucks is not just a win for businesses but also for the residents as well," said Maryland State Senator Johnny Ray Salling. "Over the past year, I have been working on toll relief for this area and will continue to do so over the next several years."

"The lower toll rates are an incentive to encourage drivers to save time by using interstate highways and reduce truck traffic on local community streets," said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee.

Beginning Friday, Jan. 1, 2016, commercial-vehicle drivers with a valid E-ZPass Maryland account and transponder will pay $2 per axle for 3, 4, 5 and 6+ axle vehicles to use the I-895/Childs Street ramps at the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel or the I-695/Broening Highway turnaround at the Francis Scott Key Bridge.

"This is the culmination of several years' worth of collaboration between the State, the trucking industry and the surrounding communities to provide a viable, cost-effective option for trucks currently traveling through local communities to make their deliveries," said Louis Campion, President of the Maryland Motor Truck Association.

"With the Port of Baltimore poised to benefit from major changes in containerized shipping that are on the horizon, the timing of this toll reduction could not be better," said Maryland Port Administration Executive Director James J. White. "We believe this toll reduction will be a great incentive for truck drivers to use interstate roadways to get to their destinations sooner."

The Childs Street exit and entrance ramps are located on I-895 at the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel toll plaza. Currently, trucks on northbound I-895 must first go through the toll plaza and pay the toll before exiting to Childs Street (Exit 9). Trucks must also pay a toll after entering southbound I-895 from Childs Street. Trucks travel local roads through Curtis Bay to avoid the toll. The new lower toll rates will be charged via overhead gantries on the Childs Street ramps.

Currently at the Key Bridge, trucks on the Inner Loop of I-695 that need to access Broening Highway must first pay the toll and collect a toll voucher for the northbound trip. Drivers then take the service road beneath the bridge to the Outer Loop, present the voucher at the toll plaza and exit onto Broening Highway. The same scenario occurs for trucks using Broening Highway to access the Outer Loop. To avoid the toll, trucks travel local roads through Dundalk.

I-895/Childs Street                               I-695/Broening Highway

Toll Reduction Table

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Learn more about the new, lower toll rates at mdta.maryland.gov. For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dec. 17, 2015

 

BAY BRIDGE LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYIS COMPLETE

Study available online at mdta.maryland.gov

 

BALTIMORE, MD - The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) completed its Bay Bridge Life Cycle Cost Analysis, a two-year study that established when preservation and maintenance will be required throughout the life cycle of both spans and developed options for adding capacity to the existing crossing and approach roadways based on traffic demand and structural conditions. The study limits include the US 50/301 corridor from Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis to the US 50/301 split on the Eastern Shore.

The study developed a traffic forecast; completed traffic analyses; assessed bridge and roadway maintenance needs; developed multiple conceptual options for adding capacity to the existing crossing and approach roadways; and, developed life cycle costs for each bridge/roadway option based on multiple construction time frames.

The study identified deck and superstructure replacement, painting and cable replacement as just some of the preservation needs anticipated for the future, including a timeline for implementing these improvements.

The life cycle analysis confirmed that the existing Bay Bridge spans are in satisfactory condition, and with programmed and anticipated preservation and maintenance, can be maintained safely through 2065.

The Bay Bridge Life Cycle Cost Analysis is available at http://www.mdta.maryland.gov/Capital_Projects/documents/Bay_Bridge_LCCA_Report_12-2015.pdf

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dec. 15, 2015

 

TOLL VIOLATORS MUST PAY NOW TO AVOID

FLAGGING/SUSPENSION OF VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS

 

BALTIMORE, MD – With the Civil Penalty Waiver Program wrapping up Nov. 16, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) began sending final notices this month to the registered owners of approximately 116,000 vehicles with unpaid toll violations and civil penalties.  The notices inform violators they will be referred to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) for non-renewal and suspension of their vehicle registrations if payment is not received in 15 days.  Referrals to the MVA begin Dec. 29.  

“The registered owners of 137,000 vehicles took advantage of the waiver program and the MDTA collected approximately $3 million in tolls, but there is still unpaid toll debt out there,” said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee.  “With the MVA referrals starting this month, some toll violators won’t be able to legally drive their vehicles until they pay their toll debt, civil penalties and other fees.”

In addition, out-of-state registered owners will have their Maryland toll debt referred to Maryland’s Central Collection Unit (CCU) in January.

Customers with unpaid Video Tolls and civil penalties can pay by the following methods:

  • Visit ezpassmd.com (click PAY VIDEO TOLLS).
  • Call the Maryland Video Toll Payment Line at 1-866-320-9995 during regular business hours (7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday – Friday).
  • Visit an E-ZPass Maryland Stop-In Center (locations/hours at ezpassmd.com).
  • Mail check/money order payable to E-ZPass Maryland to P.O. Box 17600,
    Baltimore, MD 21297 (include license plate number with payment).

In 2013, the Maryland General Assembly passed new legislation establishing a civil citation process to help the State collect unpaid Video Tolls.  The ability to flag or suspend the registrations of motorists who continue to ignore their bills – even after ample time to pay – gives the MDTA the tool it needs to collect unpaid Video Tolls. 

With Video Tolling, registered vehicle owners receive a Notice of Toll Due (NOTD) for using any of Maryland’s eight toll facilities without paying with cash or E-ZPass®.  The NOTD allows the vehicle owner to pay the Video Toll transaction in 30 days without any penalties or additional fees.

Those who do not pay within 30 days receive a civil citation and $50 penalty for each unpaid Video Toll transaction in addition to the Video Toll amount.  The owner may pay the citation and penalty or contest the citation in District Court.  Motorists who do not pay or contest within 30 days will be referred to the MVA as follows:

  • Less than $1,000 (unpaid tolls and penalties) – Referred for non-renewal flag of vehicle registration.
  • $1,000 or more (unpaid tolls and penalties) – Referred for suspension of vehicle registration.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dec. 2, 2015

       

JERRY JONES NAMED CHIEF OF

MARYLAND TRANSPORTATION

AUTHORITY POLICE

 

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has named Jerry Jones, a law-enforcement veteran with 27 years of experience, as its new Chief  of Police.

In 1988, Colonel Jones began his career as a Maryland State Police Cadet.  Since that time, he has been a patrol trooper and criminal investigator and has held various supervisory and command positions in the Criminal Investigation Bureau and Field Operations Bureau.  He also served as a barrack commander in Easton and Annapolis, a troop commander for the Eastern Shore and a regional commander for the Eastern Shore, southern Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan area.

Colonel Jones retired from the Maryland State Police as Chief of the Field Operations Bureau, a key member of the command staff responsible for leading a patrol force of nearly 1,000 sworn and civilian staff assigned to 22 barracks throughout Maryland.

“I am honored to have this opportunity to lead the men and women of the MDTA Police as we protect and serve the citizens of Maryland and secure critical transportation assets across the State,” said Colonel Jones.

A lifelong Eastern Shore resident, Colonel Jones holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in Management from Johns Hopkins University and is a graduate of its Police Executive Leadership Program.  He served on traffic-safety committees for the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan, among others.

 

The Maryland Transportation Authority Police, a nationally accredited force, is the seventh-largest law-enforcement agency in the State, with more than 600 sworn and civilian law-enforcement professionals. MDTA Police officers provide law enforcement at the MDTA’s highways, bridges and tunnels; at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport; and at the Port of Baltimore.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 1, 2015

Contact:  1st Sgt. Jonathan Green, 410-537-7724

          

BRING YOUR TOYS FOR TOTS
ON YOUR COMMUTE DEC. 9 - 11

 

BALTIMORE, MD – Join the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police, MDTA staff and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in the national Toys for Tots campaign at the Baltimore harbor crossings.  Since 1990, MDTA employees have collected more than 142,000 toys from customers of the toll facilities and the Port of Baltimore. 

From Wednesday, Dec. 9 – Friday, Dec. 11, from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m. daily, employees will collect new, unwrapped toys at the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels (I-895, I-95) and the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695) in Baltimore, and also at the Bay Bridge (US 50/301), the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40), the Intercounty Connector (MD 200) and the Dundalk Marine Terminal. 

“We are excited about this opportunity for all of the Maryland residents we serve   to donate toys for those less fortunate,” said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee.  “Each year, the men and women of the MDTA look forward to this holiday tradition.”

Toll facility customers who wish to donate toys should use the far-right toll lane and follow directions from Santa, uniformed MDTA police officers or MDTA staff.  (Note: This includes E-ZPass® customers who wish to drop off toys.)  The MDTA Police remind drivers to keep safety in mind as they approach toy drop-off sites.  Toys may be dropped off during scheduled times only.  Toll collectors are unable to accept donations in the toll lanes

Toys collected at the Baltimore-area facilities will be given to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves base in northeast Baltimore for distribution. 

For more information on the MDTA’s collection efforts, visit mdta.maryland.gov. For more on the Toys for Tots program, visit toysfortots.org.  For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA. Find us at facebook.com/TheMDTA.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 19, 2015

 

BUSY THANKSGIVING WEEK ANTICIPATED AT MARYLAND’S TOLL FACILITIES

Use I-95 Express Toll Lanes for reliable travel time

 

BALTIMORE, MD -- As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds motorists to travel during off-peak hours, stay alert and plan ahead to avoid travel delays.  Based on traffic counts from previous years, Wednesday is expected to be the heaviest travel day, with many travelers also expected to hit the roads Tuesday.

The MDTA anticipates a 1% increase in traffic volumes compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period.  Between Tuesday, Nov. 24, and Sunday, Nov. 29, the MDTA expects more than 2.7 million travelers on its highways, bridges and tunnels:

·         Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) – more than 708,000 vehicles.

·         John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – nearly 669,000 vehicles.

·         William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 430,000 vehicles.

·         An additional 939,000 vehicles are projected to travel the Francis Scott Key Bridge
(I-695), the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge
(US 40) and the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301) combined. 

All figures represent traffic volumes in both directions.

The MDTA offers the following tips to help motorists reach their destinations safely:

·         Travel during off-peak hours to avoid significant delays.  For the I-95 corridor, off-peak hours include:

  •   Tuesday and Wednesday -- before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
  •   Thursday through Sunday -- before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

·         New Lower Toll Rates Effective July 1, 2015. Visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator.

·         Game Plan for your travels.

  • For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.  Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTATo view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.  Call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information.
  • Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions.  Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras and to sign up for email alerts.
  • Makes Traffic Less Ugly. Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.
  • Need to rest or fuel up? Stop by the Maryland or Chesapeake House Travel Plazas along I-95 in northeast Maryland.

·         I-95 Now Has a Shortcut - I-95 Express Toll Lanes (ETL) between White Marsh and I-895 in Baltimore. Visit mdta.maryland.gov for toll rates.

Keeping traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible is the MDTA’s priority this holiday weekend.  The MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target aggressive and impaired drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity.  The MDTA Police and Vehicle Recovery Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles.  In addition, the MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 5 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30.

For your SAFETY and the SAFETY of other motorists and emergency personnel:

·         If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.

·         Obey posted speed limits and overhead lane-control signals.

·         Devote your full attention to driving – it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland.

·         State law requires that every passenger in a moving vehicle be secured with a seat belt or child safety restraint.

·         Do not tailgate - keep a safe following distance.

·         Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see.

·         Avoid changing lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.

·         Headlights are required at all times on the Bay Bridge.

·         Make sure your vehicle is “road ready.”

·         When contacting a dispatch center, motorists should be prepared to provide:

  •   The location of the emergency;
  •   A call-back telephone number; and
  •   Details of the incident/disabled vehicle or other circumstances.                                    

·         State law requires vehicles to move over when approaching an emergency vehicle or tow truck using visual signals.  If you are unable to move over, slow down.

·         Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.

The E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 26, and Friday, Nov. 27.  Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824.

For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA.

The MDTA thanks motorists for their patience.  Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 9, 2015

  

*REMINDER*

FINAL CHANCE:

ONLY 7 DAYS LEFT FOR TOLL VIOLATORS

TO PAY UP WITHOUT CIVIL PENALTIES

WAIVER PROGRAM ENDS NOV. 16

Customer service phone line open until 8 p.m. M-F thru Nov. 16

BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority’s (MDTA) one-month waiver program for toll violators to pay off their toll debt without paying civil penalties officially ends in one week.  Immediately following the waiver period, the MDTA will begin referring toll violators to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) for flagging and suspending vehicle registrations, and toll debt to the Maryland Central Collection Unit (CCU), in accordance with 2013 legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly.

“If Video Tolls remain unpaid after Nov. 16, violators will then be responsible for the toll debt AND civil penalties,” said MDTA Executive Director Milt Chaffee.  “That means we also begin referring violators’ vehicle registrations to the Maryland MVA next month.  As a result, some toll violators won’t be able to legally drive their vehicles until they pay their toll debt, civil penalties and other fees.”

Between now and Nov. 16, 2015, the MDTA will waive civil penalties ($50 per transaction) and cease further enforcement activities for any Video Toll that a customer pays during this period.  This unique waiver program, which began Oct. 16, 2015, will happen only once. 

For those with unpaid tolls, now is the time to take action and put their accounts in good standing.  For those who contested to court but have not been scheduled or appeared in court, their civil penalties will be waived and the court date cancelled if their toll balance is paid in full between now and Nov. 16, 2015, and before their court date (if scheduled).

Customers with unpaid Video Tolls can pay by the following methods:

  • Visit ezpassmd.com (click PAY VIDEO TOLLS).
  • Call the Maryland Video Toll Payment Line at 1-866-320-9995 during regular business hours (7 a.m. - 8 p.m., Monday – Friday).
  • Visit an E-ZPass Maryland Stop-In Center (locations/hours at ezpassmd.com).
  • Mail check/money order payable to E-ZPass Maryland to P.O. Box 17600, Baltimore, MD 21297 (include license plate number with payment).

NOTE: E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center will be OPEN Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015, to assist customers during the Civil Penalties Waiver Program, and will be CLOSED Friday, Nov. 27, 2015.  Offices will re-open on Monday, Nov. 30.  The Stop-in Centers located at the Beltsville, Gaithersburg, and Glen Burnie MVA locations will be closed on both dates.

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