FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                               

May 21, 2013                                                                                                                  

Contact: Kelly Melhem                                                                   

          410-537-1017                                                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                            

SUMMER 2013 TRAVEL SEASON

          KICKS OFF WITH MEMORIAL DAY          

More Than 1.8 Million Motorists Anticipated To

Travel Maryland’s Toll Facilities

 

BALTIMORE, MD – As the unofficial start to summer approaches, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds the more than 1.8 million motorists anticipated to travel MDTA roadways this holiday – plan ahead; travel off-peak; and Drive Smart. Arrive Safe.  This total represents a 1% increase in traffic counts compared to last year.

MDTA officials anticipate the following number of vehicles to travel its toll facilities between Friday, May 24, and Monday, May 27:

·         Bay Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 366,000.

·         John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – more than 437,000.

·         Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95, I-395) – more than 459,500.

An additional 540,000 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 totals represent traffic in both directions.

The MDTA offers the following travel tips for this holiday weekend and throughout the summer months:

·         Travel off-peak when heading to and from the Eastern Shore.  The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include:

  •        Thursday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  •        Friday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  •        Saturday – before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
  •        Sunday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  •        Memorial Day Monday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

·         Don’t Wing It. Plan Ahead!

  •          Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions.
  •          Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras at the Bay Bridge and to sign up for  email alerts.
  •          Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.
  •          Ease your travel with E-ZPass.  Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.
  •          Know Before You Go - call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information.  To view traffic cameras on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
  •          For toll rates, visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator.  The current cash toll rate for two-axle vehicles at the Bay Bridge is $4.  Effective July 1, the new cash toll rate for two-axle vehicles will be $6.

·         Consider the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 in your travel route to the Eastern Shore.

Reminder:  The Maryland House travel plaza along the JFK Highway closed for a redevelopment project this past September and is expected to reopen fall/winter 2013.  The Chesapeake House remains open for fuel and food services.

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 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 from Friday, May 24, at 5 a.m. through Tuesday, May 28, at 9 a.m.

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

·         Pay attention to new lane markings and rumble strips on the Bay Bridge westbound span.  Lane changes between the westbound left and center lanes are prohibited for the entire span, whether or not two-way operations are in effect.

·         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.

·         Keep a safe following distance to avoid rear-end collisions.

·         Do not change lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.

·         Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see.  Please note that the scaffolding around the westbound Bay Bridge towers is for an ongoing painting project.

·         Make sure your vehicle is “road ready”-- one disabled vehicle can cause extensive backups.

·         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.

In accordance with the State’s budget-reduction plan, MDTA offices will be closed on Friday, May 24, 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 Tuesday, May 28.

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

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