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Date: Nov 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 30, 2012

Contact:  Sgt. Jonathan Green 410-537-7724 or 410-977-5772 (cell)

          

BRING YOUR TOYS FOR TOTS ON YOUR COMMUTE

BALTIMORE, MD Join the MD 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 127,000 toys from customers of the toll facilities and Port of Baltimore. 

On Dec. 5, 6 and 7 from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 3 to 5 p.m., employees will collect new, unwrapped toys at the Baltimore Harbor and Fort McHenry tunnels (I-895,

I-95/I-395) and the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695) and also at the Bay Bridge (US 50/301), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40), the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301), the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 and the Dundalk Marine Terminal.

Once again, we are excited about this opportunity for all of the citizens we serve to donate toys for those less fortunate, said MDTA Executive Secretary Harold M. Bartlett. Each year, the men and women of the MDTA look forward to assisting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in this wonderful campaign. 

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 at designated sites 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 MDTAs collection efforts, visit mdta.maryland.gov.  For more on the Toys for Tots program, visit toysfortots.org.

Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA or on facebook.com/TheMDTA.

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Note: If you choose to use an acronym, please refer to Maryland Transportation Authority Police as the MDTA Police. Thank you.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 29, 2012

Contact:          Cheryl M. Sparks or John Sales

                        410-537-1017

MORE SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS TO BE ADDED TO THE BAY BRIDGE
MDTA Study Recommends Painted Buffer with Rumble Strips to Supplement
Safety Measures Already in Place

BALTIMORE, MD – The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) recently completed an evaluation of additional safety measures that could possibly be implemented at the Bay Bridge (US 50/301) during “two-way” traffic operations.  The study concluded that enhancements should be made to the current lane markings on the westbound span, including the addition of a painted buffer and continuous rumble strips.

“The MDTA is continuously looking for ways to improve safety at all of its facilities,” said MDTA Executive Secretary Harold M. Bartlett.  “We undertook this study to build on existing safety measures at the Bay Bridge.  These enhancements will provide additional visual and physical guides designed to help drivers stay alert and stay in their lane during two-way operations.”

During periods of heavy eastbound traffic, the MDTA implements two-way traffic operations by “reversing” the left lane of the westbound span (Lane 3) for use by eastbound motorists.  Currently, this process involves the use of reversible pavement markings, overhead lane-control signs and traffic cones positioned at each end of the westbound span to divide opposing traffic.

Following an extensive examination of a wide range of options, the study workgroup recommends the additional step of creating a painted buffer between Lane 3 and Lane 2 (westbound center lane) using diagonal hash marks and continuous rumble strips.  Double solid lines would create a buffer space between lanes while discouraging motorists from changing or crossing lanes.  Rumble strips, which initially were installed along portions of the bridge in 2008, have proven effective in discouraging drivers from straying from their lane.  Rumble strips will now be installed continuously along the 4.3-mile span. 

Installation of the new lane markings and rumble strips is expected to begin spring 2013 before the next summer travel season.  The MDTA will monitor the performance of these improvements and consider if those same improvements would be applicable to the eastbound span, where two-way traffic may be used to accommodate maintenance/construction on the westbound span.

“We ask motorists, both commuters and vacationers, to take an active role in their safety when crossing the bridge by keeping their eyes on the road and not passing or tailgating,” said Mr. Bartlett.  “While these may seem like simple things, they are critical safety reminders for those using the Bay Bridge.”

The study workgroup was comprised of members of Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., a nationally recognized consultant firm, along with MDTA traffic and structural engineers, operations and police team members.  The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) guidelines were also reviewed to determine the suitability of the various options being studied. 

The safety evaluation examined traffic volumes and accident history for both spans, as well as potential solutions to further reduce accidents.  While options considered ranged from changes in maintenance of traffic to physical barriers, factors that precluded alternatives from further consideration included impacts to lane widths, weight, sight distance, traffic flow, emergency response and the potential for increased rear-end or other collisions.  The Evaluation of Additional Safety Measures at the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge is available at mdta.maryland.gov.

Several improvements have been made over the past decade to improve safety on the Bay Bridge.  These include the installation of rumble strips along portions of the bridge and enhancements to the lane markings, lane-control system, signing and the procedures used by police and operations personnel for reversing the direction of travel on the bridge.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Nov. 15, 2012

Contact:          John Sales

                        410-537-1017

BUSY THANKSGIVING WEEK ANTICIPATED AT MARYLANDS 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 traffic volumes to remain consistent with last years figures.  Between Tuesday, Nov. 20, and Sunday, Nov. 25, the MDTA expects more than 2.7 million travelers on its highways, bridges and tunnels:

  • Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) more than 745,000 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 452,000 vehicles.
  • An additional 866,000 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 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.
  • Know Before You Go! 
  • 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.
    • Hassle-free holiday travel. It does exist.  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 in 37 minutes.

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.  The MDTA also will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from Tuesday, Nov. 20, to Monday, Nov. 26.

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

  • Electronic message signs will display information on travel time, delays, incidents and alternate routes.
  • 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.
  • Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see.
  • Do not change lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.
  • 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, Nov. 23, 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, Nov. 26.

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



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.  The MDTA also will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from Tuesday, Nov. 20, to Monday, Nov. 26.

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

·         Electronic message signs will display information on travel time, delays, incidents and alternate routes.

·         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.

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

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

·         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, Nov. 23, 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, Nov. 26.

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

 

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.