FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 20, 2013
Contact: Cheryl M. Sparks or John Sales
BUSY THANKSGIVING WEEK ANTICIPATED AT MARYLAND’S TOLL FACILITIES
BALTIMORE, MD -- As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds motorists to travel during off-peak hours, stay alert and Know Before You Go 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 one percent increase in traffic volumes compared to last year’s Thanksgiving holiday period. Between Tuesday, Nov. 26, and Sunday, Dec. 1, the MDTA expects more than 2.7 million travelers on its highways, bridges and tunnels:
· Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) – more than 735,000 vehicles.
· John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – more than 682,000 vehicles.
· William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 449,000 vehicles.
· An additional 852,000 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.
· The Maryland House Travel Plaza along the JFK Highway is closed for redevelopment and is expected to reopen in winter 2014. The Chesapeake House remains open for fuel and food services.
· Game Plan for your travels.
- Call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information. To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
- Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.
- Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions. Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras at the bridge and to sign up for email alerts.
- A hands-free device any traveler will love. Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.
- For current toll rates, visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator.
- Use the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 to get from Gaithersburg to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport and cut your travel time in half.
Keeping traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible is the MDTA’s priority. The MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target aggressive and impaired drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity. The MDTA Police and Courtesy Patrols will have additional units on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles. The MDTA also will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from Tuesday, Nov. 26, to Monday, Dec. 2.
· The exit ramp from southbound I-895 to Potee Street (Exit 7) in Baltimore City is closed (24/7) for repairs.
· Please note that access from I-95 to eastbound and westbound MD 43/White Marsh Boulevard (Exit 67) now comes prior to passing under MD 43 on I-95.
For your safety and the safety of other motorists and emergency personnel:
· 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.
· Law requires that every passenger in a moving vehicle be secured with a seat belt or child safety restraint.
· Keep a safe following distance to avoid rear-end collisions.
· Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see, especially on bridges.
· Do not change lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.
· Make sure your vehicle is “road ready.”
· If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.
· Move over when passing an emergency situation. If you are unable to move over, slow down. This includes maintenance, police, fire, EMS or any emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped.
· Drunk Driving. Over the limit. Under Arrest.
In accordance with the State’s budget-reduction plan, MDTA offices will be closed on Friday, Nov. 29, including the E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center. Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 to sign up for E-ZPass, update account information or make payments via credit card. Offices will reopen on Monday, Dec. 2.
The MDTA thanks motorists for their patience. Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!