GOVERNOR O’MALLEY ANNOUNCES MARYLAND MAKES SPECIAL ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STORM RELIEF VEHICLES HEADED TO NORTHEAST

Weight Restrictions Raised, Tolls Waived for Vehicles Directly Related to Storm Relief Efforts

HANOVER, MD (November 2, 2012) – Governor Martin O’Malley announced today that Maryland is implementing a series of steps to help the rapid movement of relief assets to areas of the northeast impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  Measures involving tolls, weight requirements and truck permitting are being put in place temporarily to allow relief vehicles to reach areas in need as soon as possible.

“All reasonable steps must be taken to assist relief efforts in the wake of this unprecedented storm,” said Governor O’Malley.  “I-95 and other major east coast routes that provide access to devastated areas pass directly through Maryland.  It is important that we do everything we can to get workers, equipment and utility crews through our state as quickly as possible to allow relief to flow to those areas that need it most.”

Effective at 3:00 p.m. Friday, November 2, Hurricane Sandy relief workers who travel through Maryland toll facilities will not be charged a toll through 3:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 6.  The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) will allow clearly identified vehicles related to Sandy relief efforts (emergency vehicles, electric utility trucks, tree/debris clearing trucks and equipment, the American Red Cross) to drive through toll booths without paying.  Drivers of relief vehicles should use the FAR RIGHT toll lanes, stop at the toll booth and identify themselves to the toll collector that they are a part of the Sandy relief effort. 

The MDTA, who owns and operates Maryland’s toll facilities, anticipates most relief vehicles to travel through the I-95 Fort McHenry Tunnel and John F. Kennedy Highway. 

Relief vehicles traveling through other Maryland toll facilities will be provided the same waiver of tolls, but they must go through a staffed toll collector lane and identify themselves to the toll collector that they are a part of the Sandy relief effort. 

Should drivers inadvertently pass through E-ZPass dedicated lanes, a Notice of Toll Due (NOTD) statement will be generated and sent to the registered vehicle owner.  Once the NOTD is received, a company representative should contact the Maryland E-ZPass Customer Service Center at 1-888-321-6824 for a waiver of tolls/fees.

Under an Executive Order signed by Governor O’Malley, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) will temporarily increase the maximum weight allowed for trucks traveling on state highways by 15 percent for vehicles moving hurricane relief assets into affected areas. This measure temporarily increases the allowable weight from 80,000 pounds to 92,000 pounds.  Loads over 92,000 pounds must still comply with normal permit requirements and are available only to non-divisible loads (i.e. heavy equipment, generators, etc.)

To help the trucking community with this permitting process, permit applications for relief efforts will be processed as soon as they are submitted.  SHA is providing after-hour and weekend on-call assistance for truckers using Maryland interstates.  Customers may call the Statewide Operations Center at 410-582-5650 or apply electronically by using SHA’s Motor Carrier Division, Hauling Permit home page at http://roads.maryland.gov/cvo.  Once issued, the permit may be displayed using SHA’s ePermit function by simply having it available for display on a mobile device carried in the vehicle.