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Date: Oct 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 29, 2012

STATE AGENCIES REDUCE SPEED LIMIT TO 45 MPH ON INTERSTATES AND US ROUTES 
Marylanders Urged to Avoid Travel for Next 24-36 Hours as Strong Winds
and Heavy Rain Continues Across the State

(October 29, 2012) - 2:30 p.m.  Due to deteriorating weather conditions, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), State Police (MSP) and Transportation Authority (MDTA) have lowered all speed limits on interstate and US routes to 45 mph effective immediately and until further notice. All three agencies discourage any travel during the expected upcoming height of the storm.  This reduction in speed limit also applies to all first responders, relief workers, utility crews and other essential personnel.

Lowering the speed limit in necessary since speed and high winds is a dangerous combination.  By reducing the speed limit, our goal is to keep our emergency responders safe.  For all members of the general public, we cant stress enough the importance of staying off the roads as this unprecedented storm strikes Maryland, said Maryland State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters.  Stay home. There are more than 12,000 people responding along state and toll roadways. By staying home you allow them, utility crews and police to do their jobs.

For more information about Sandy, view the Maryland Emergency Management Agency website at www.mema.state.md.us.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 26, 2012

Contact:          John Sales

                        410-537-1017

MDTA PREPARES FOR HURRICANE SANDY
Follow the MDTA on Facebook, Twitter & 1-877-BAYSPAN for Updates

BALTIMORE, MD – As Hurricane Sandy approaches the mid-Atlantic region, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) announced today that every effort will be made to keep its bridges and tunnels open during the storm, as long as conditions are safe for travelers.

Motorists crossing the Bay Bridge (US 50/301) and other bridges are reminded that bridge closures will occur when sustained wind speeds OR wind gusts exceed 55 miles per hour.  Anyone planning to travel from the Eastern Shore to the Western Shore to ride out the storm is encouraged to do so in advance of the severe weather reaching the area.

“The MDTA will use a variety of tools to monitor real-time weather conditions at all of its facilities, particularly the Bay Bridge,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and MDTA Chairman Darrell B. Mobley.  “Decisions regarding traffic on the Bay Bridge will be made utilizing multiple wind sensors providing real-time wind speeds and a network of new cameras positioned along the 4.3 miles of the bridge that provide extensive views of both spans.  The MDTA also has improved procedures for closing and reopening the bridge when needed and enhanced communication and working relationships to coordinate with local EMS services.”

On all MDTA bridges, wind warnings and restrictions would be implemented as outlined below:

  • Wind Warning (sustained wind speeds or wind gusts of 30-39 mph) – 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.
  • Wind Restriction I (sustained wind speeds or wind gusts of 40-49 mph) – 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.
  • Wind Restriction II (sustained wind speeds or wind gusts exceeding 50 mph) – 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 or wind gusts exceeding 55 mph) – 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 traffic across the bridge.

Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA, facebook.com/TheMDTA and mdta.maryland.gov for the most up-to-date information.  For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions, call BAYSPAN at 1-877-229-7726 or visit www.baybridge.com.  For statewide travel conditions, visit www.MD511.ORG or call 511.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency stresses awareness and preparedness as Hurricane Sandy approaches Maryland.  Go to www.mema.state.md.us for the latest storm track and preparedness information.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 25, 2012

Contact:          John Sales

                        410-537-1017

ICC REACHES ONE YEAR MILESTONE NEXT MONTH
Traffic Volumes Growing as Projected

BALTIMORE, MD - As the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 approaches its one-year anniversary since opening to I-95, traffic volumes on the ICC/MD 200 are growing at a rate on average of three percent per month, according to the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA).

“Overall, daily traffic volumes are consistent with our projections for the roadway and continue to grow,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and MDTA Chairman Darrell B. Mobley.  “With new toll facilities like MD 200, there is an expected ‘ramping up’ period during the first few years when traffic grows gradually as users become more familiar with the facility.  It is important to remember that MD 200 was designed to accommodate expected capacity in 2030 and to provide relatively congestion-free travel with reliable travel times today and for years to come.”

Between July 2011 and June 2012, more than 11.56 million trips were made on MD 200 with total revenue of $19.73 million, as compared to the projected $18.71 million, according to MDTA’s audited financial data for fiscal year 2012.

“In September, weekday traffic averaged more than 35,000 vehicles per day in the westernmost segment of the facility between I-370 and Georgia Avenue; 26,000 vehicles per weekday on the eastern segment between US 29 and I-95,” said MDTA Executive Secretary Harold M. Bartlett.  “Traffic is higher than projected on the western and center segments of the project, but is slightly lower than projected on the eastern end.”

An initial evaluation about whether or not to increase the MD 200 speed limit was recently completed.  A more detailed analysis of data showing single-vehicle accidents on MD 200 since opening to I-95 will begin next month in order to make a final decision on the speed limit increase with safety being the top priority.  A final decision on the speed limit increase is expected by the end of this year.

The MDTA opened the ICC Eastern Operations Facility near the I-95 interchange in summer 2012.  This facility includes office space for MDTA Operations and Police staff, automotive and truck repair shops, storage for winter weather materials/salt and roadway maintenance materials/equipment, and a geothermal heating and air-conditioning system.

This past spring, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) began construction on the fourth and final contract of the ICC.  Construction activity is progressing well to build collector-distributor lanes along I-95 between the ICC alignment and MD 198 and extend the ICC from its current terminus at I-95 for one additional mile to US 1.  This final ICC segment is scheduled to open to traffic in late 2013 or early 2014.

ICC tolls are collected electronically at highway speeds using E-ZPass and video-tolling technology.  To sign up for E-ZPass, visit ezpassmd.com to enroll online and for a list of

E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA, facebook.com/TheMDTA and www.mdta.maryland.gov.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 11, 2012

Contact:          John Sales

                        410-537-1017

STEEL REPAIR PROJECT BEGINS ON CURTIS CREEKDRAWBRIDGE APPROACH SPANS

BALTIMORE, MD - The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) announces a $1.5 million project to perform steel girder repairs to the approach spans of the I-695 drawbridge over Curtis Creek, between Quarantine Road (Exit 1) and MD 10 (Exit 2), beginning this month.  This preservation project, anticipated to last approximately six months and funded completely by toll revenue, is part of the MDTAs commitment to preserving and maintaining the States aging toll bridges, tunnels and highways.

Construction includes repairs to the steel girders (structural steel) on the approach spans, the areas on either side of the main drawbridge section.  Contractor Joseph B. Fay Company of Baltimore will also clean and paint the structural steel of the repaired areas.

Single-lane closures may be in effect on the INNER LOOP and OUTER LOOP of I-695 during the following off-peak hours: daily from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday through Friday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning.  No closures are permitted the day of, preceding or following a major holiday.

The INNER LOOP of the I-695 Curtis Creek Drawbridge (one-lane of traffic in each direction) was opened when the Francis Scott Key Bridge opened in 1977.  The OUTER LOOP drawbridge span was added in 1979, resulting in two lanes of travel in each direction.  The current deck replacement project on the Curtis Creek drawbridge, which began last January, is nearing completion this month.

Portable and overhead electronic message signs will display travel information.  For information on the MDTA's other facility preservation projects, or to view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.  For statewide travel conditions, visit MD511.ORG or call 511.  Follow TheMDTA on Twitter. 

The MDTA thanks its customers for their patience and reminds them to Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!!