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Date: Jun 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 27, 2012

Contact:          Cheryl Sparks or Kelly Melhem

                        410-537-1017

OPEN A HATEM BRIDGE E-ZPASS® PLAN TODAY
Reminder:  Sign up by July 1 and save $10 on renewal in 2013

BALTIMORE, MD  The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) urges Hatem Bridge users to sign up for one of the Hatem Bridge E-ZPass plans now and avoid the rush as the September 30 deadline approaches to use AVI decals. 

Customers who open an E-ZPass Hatem Bridge Plan before July 1, 2012, will save $10 on renewals next year because their plans will renew before the price changes to $20 on July 1, 2013. And those who sign up for the Choice B Hatem Bridge Plan, which can be used to pay tolls anywhere E-ZPass is accepted, can start receiving the 10% discount off the cash rate at all other Maryland toll plazas as they travel this summer, said MDTA Executive Secretary Harold M. Bartlett.  I thank our elected officials and community partners who have helped make the transition to E-ZPass more accessible and convenient for our customers.

Since extensive public outreach efforts began earlier this year, MDTA has visited more than 20 businesses and events in Harford and Cecil counties and addressed the questions and concerns of more than 750 citizens.  Customers have opened more than 26,000
E-ZPass Hatem Bridge plans since February. 

Throughout the summer months, MDTA will continue to participate in community events and offer assistance at local employers.  Check the MDTA website, mdta.maryland.gov, for upcoming events and consider opening your E-ZPass account at one of these locations.  Please bring your vehicle license plate numbers(s) and cash, check or a credit card.

As the September AVI conversion to E-ZPass deadline approaches, area E-ZPass Stop-in Centers will become extremely busy.  The best way to avoid long lines is to sign up on-line at ezpassmd.com.  Existing Maryland E-ZPass account holders may call the Customer Service Center at 1-888-321-6824 to add the Hatem Bridge Choice B Plan to their accounts. The JFK I-95 E-ZPass Stop-in Center, located off MD 222 at One Turnpike Drive, operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through September. Customers may also sign up for the Hatem Bridge plans at MDTAs other E-ZPass Stop-in Centers near Maryland toll facilities.

Dont Delay.  Get Your E-ZPass Today!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 12, 2012

Contact:         John Sales

                        410-537-1017

STAR-SPANGLED SAILABRATION TO IMPACT I-95/I-395 TRAFFIC IN BALTIMORE 
Motorists Urged To Use Alternate Routes; Know Before You Go  

BALTIMORE, MD – As the city of Baltimore gears up for the 2012 Star-Spangled Sailabration, the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds motorists to anticipate delays, plan ahead and Know Before You Go!

With an expected attendance of more than one million, the Sailabration will take place Wednesday, June 13, through Tuesday, June 19.  Throughout the week, event-related traffic may result in major delays at the Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95) and along the I-95/I-395 corridor.  Commuters and event-goers heading to and from Baltimore during weekday morning and evening rush hours may experience higher than normal volumes of traffic on I-95/I-395.

An international parade of more than 40 tall ships and naval vessels will sail into Baltimore on Wednesday, June 13 and depart on Tuesday, June 19.  The heaviest traffic volumes in the area are expected on Saturday, June 16, and Sunday, June 17, for the Star-Spangled Air Show featuring the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.  Concerts and fireworks will also take place Saturday evening at the Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine. 

Motorists are urged to take the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895) or the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695) if their destinations are north or south of Baltimore.  Motorists heading into the city should consider alternate routes such as I-83, US 40, O’Donnell/Boston Street (Exit 57), or Caton Avenue (Exit 50) to Washington Boulevard.

Keeping traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible is the MDTA’s priority.  The MDTA Police and Vehicle Recovery Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles.  MDTA also offers the following travel tips:

  • Plan Ahead:
    • Know Before You Go - call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information.  To view real-time traffic camera images on I-95/I-395 and other MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
    • Allow additional travel time.
    • For information on the Sailabration, including interactive maps and schedule of events, visit starspangled200.com.
    • The new cash toll rate for two-axle vehicles at the Fort McHenry and Baltimore Harbor tunnels and the Key Bridge is $3.  For information on current toll rates, visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator.
    • Consider public transportation – Light Rail, Metro Subway and Local Bus provide transit options.  Visit mta.maryland.gov for more information.
    • For your safety and the safety of other motorists and emergency personnel:
    • Do not park along highway shoulders or stop on the Key Bridge to watch the events or ships.
    • Electronic message signs will display information on travel time, delays, incidents or 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.
    • 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 Law – When passing an emergency situation, drivers should move to a lane away from the incident, if possible, for your safety and the safety of emergency personnel.  If you are unable to move over, slow down.  

The MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target aggressive and impaired drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity.  Citizens may report suspicious or unusual activity by calling 1-800-429-TIPS (8477).  The TIPS hotline is staffed 24/7 by members of the Maryland Joint Terrorism Task Force, which includes MDTA Police.

The MDTA thanks motorists for their patience. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 7, 2012

Contact:          Cheryl Sparks or John Sales

                        410-537-1017

AVOID I-895 & THE BALTIMORE HARBOR TUNNEL THIS SUMMER **MAJOR DELAYS EXPECTED**
K-Truss Steel Bridge Repairs South of Tunnel with 24/7 Lane Closures; Use I-95 and I-695/Key Bridge Instead

BALTIMORE, MD – Necessary work to preserve and resurface the 55-year-old “K-Truss” steel bridge deck on I-895 south of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel will lead to major congestion and delays for drivers who choose to travel the route this summer.   The nearly $5 million project, funded completely by toll revenue, requires an eight-week duration of continuous (24/7) single lane closures on I-895 beginning on or about June 20, with major delays anticipated.

“Our message is very clear – avoid I-895 this summer and instead use the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95 or the Key Bridge on I-695.  If you drive I-895, expect major delays, especially during rush hours, potentially as much as 60 minutes per trip,” said MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) Executive Secretary Harold M. Bartlett.  “This concrete work simply cannot be done while keeping all lanes of I-895 open.  Our team developed a complex sequencing of construction and traffic patterns that will accomplish the work while still keeping at least one lane of I-895 open in each direction over the eight-week period.  I thank our customers for their patience, understanding and willingness to adjust their travel habits.”

In addition to weekday rush hours, major delays are expected Saturdays beginning around noon on southbound I-895 and Sundays beginning around 4 p.m. on northbound I-895.

Through extensive sampling and testing of the concrete, the MDTA confirmed that it is necessary to perform a milling and resurfacing of the top 3.5 inches of the K-Truss bridge deck using Latex Modified Concrete.  Construction includes removing and replacing portions of the existing concrete-filled steel grid bridge deck, removing and reconstructing portions of the existing concrete and steel median barriers, and performing drainage improvements.

The work zone consists of the I-895 K-Truss bridge and approach roadways between Exit 8 (Shell Road/Hanover Street) and Exit 7 (Potee Street).  Median barrier work will also be performed on I-895 over Frankfurst Avenue.  Scheduled to be complete in October 2012, work will be performed in four stages.   

  • Stage 1 beginning on or about June 20 (approximately 30 days): one northbound lane closed (left lane) and two southbound lanes open.
  • Stage 2 beginning mid-July (approx. two weeks): one northbound lane closed (right lane) and two southbound lanes open.
  • Stage 3 beginning early August (approx. two weeks): two southbound lanes closed with two-way traffic -- one lane for northbound traffic and one lane for southbound traffic -- on northbound bridge.
  • Stage 4 beginning mid-August (approx. 45 days): both lanes open in each direction with traffic shifted to outside lanes for work in center median.  Reduced lane widths on I-895.  No work will be performed during the Labor Day holiday weekend and the Baltimore Grand Prix.

The schedule is subject to change due to weather and other variables.  Additional off-peak lane closures will occur as necessary.

This current deck rehabilitation project is being performed by Eastern Highway Specialists, Inc., of Wilmington, Del.  The K-Truss bridge deck was last resurfaced in 2000.  This minor project included a less extensive rehabilitation of the deck using limited, short-term lane closures.   

Other preservation projects expected to begin on I-895 this summer include a deck replacement project on the I-895 bridges over Patapsco Avenue, Potee Street and Hanover Street, a resurfacing project for the ramp from northbound I-97 to northbound I-895 and a cleaning and painting project for 11 bridges along I-895.  In addition, a cleaning and painting project is underway for five bridges south of the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel.  

Motorists should be aware of portable and overhead electronic message signs that will display closure and/or detour 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. 

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