FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 23, 2012

Contact:          Cheryl Sparks or Lesli Leath

                        410-537-1017

HEAVY LABOR DAY WEEKEND TRAFFIC ANTICIPATED AT MDTA TOLL FACILITIES  

BALTIMORE, MD -- As summer comes to an unofficial close, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds the more than 1.8 million motorists anticipated to travel its facilities over the Labor Day holiday weekend to plan ahead; travel off-peak; and Drive Smart.  Arrive Safe.  This total represents a one-percent increase in traffic volumes compared to last year.

MDTA officials anticipate the following number of vehicles to travel its toll facilities between Friday, Aug. 31, and Monday, Sept. 3:

  • William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 347,000.
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – more than 431,000.
  • Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95, I-395) – more than 452,000.

An additional 585,000 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:

  • Travel off-peak when heading to and from beach destinations.  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. 
    • Labor 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 live traffic cameras at the Bay Bridge and to sign up for traffic and email alerts.
    • Visit facebook.com/TheMDTA or follow TheMDTA on Twitter.
    • 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 real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
    • For current toll rates, visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator.  The new cash toll rate for two-axle vehicles at the Bay Bridge is $4.

Those traveling in or around Baltimore should note that the Baltimore Grand Prix will bring additional traffic to the area Friday through Sunday and will result in major delays on I-95.  Motorists whose destinations are north or south of the city are urged to use I-895 or I-695.  Portions of I-395 will be closed between Wednesday, Aug. 29 and Tuesday, Sept. 4.  Consider public transportation – Light Rail, Metro Subway and Local Bus provide transit options.  Visit mta.maryland.gov for more information.

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. 

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.  Please note that the scaffolding around the westbound Bay Bridge towers is for an ongoing painting project.
  • 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.

The MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 4.

In accordance with the State’s budget-reduction plan, MDTA offices will be closed on Friday, Aug. 31, 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, Sept. 4.

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