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Date: 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 29, 2013

Contact:  1st Sgt. Kevin Ayd, 410-537-7724

     

MDTA POLICE RELEASE INVESTIGATION REPORT
FOR JULY 19 CRASH AT BAY BRIDGE

Distracted Driving Found To Be Cause of Crash

BALTIMORE, MD – Today, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police released the collision reconstruction report detailing the July 19, 2013, crash at the Bay Bridge (US 50/301). The investigation concluded that the primary cause of the crash was distracted driving on the part of the commercial-vehicle driver.

“Without a doubt, the MDTA’s priority is the safety of its customers and employees. This crash demonstrates how critical it is that motorists devote their full attention to driving when operating motor vehicles,” said MDTA Police Chief Colonel Michael Kundrat. “A primary reason for crashes on the Bay Bridge is from tailgating.  Maintaining a proper following distance is one of the simplest things drivers can do to stay safe and keep other motorists safe.”

On July 19 at 8:24 p.m., a three-vehicle crash occurred on the eastbound Bay Bridge.  The crash involved an International truck/tractor pulling a semi-trailer, a Chrysler Sebring passenger car and a Mazda CX-5 SUV. 

The tractor-trailer operator, 29-year-old Gabor Lovasz of Canada, indicated to investigators that his attention was directed to his driver’s side mirror due to flashing headlights behind him.  When he looked forward again he noticed that the vehicles in front of him were stopping.  He attempted to steer the tractor trailer to the left to avoid contact, but struck the left rear of the Chrysler, pushing it up onto the top of the barrier wall.  A second impact from the tractor trailer then pushed the Chrysler over the wall, and the car fell approximately 27 feet into the shallow waters of the bay.  The Mazda also was struck by the tractor trailer during the crash.

The investigation revealed that the Chrysler had slowed to approximately four mph when it was struck by the tractor trailer.  Based on a data download of the tractor’s Engine Control Module and Antilock Braking System, investigators believe that it was traveling between 47 and 51 mph just prior to the crash. Vehicle inspections by the Maryland State Police Automotive Safety Enforcement Division and MDTA Police Commercial Vehicle Safety Unit indicated no mechanical defects were present at the time of the inspections following the crash.

Mr. Lovasz had emigrated from Hungary to Canada as part of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker program, and his trip through Maryland was his first time driving unaccompanied in the U.S.  The MDTA Police are charging him with failure to control speed to avoid a collision ($130 fine), unsafe lane changing ($130 fine), negligent driving ($280 fine) and speed greater than reasonable and prudent on highway ($130 fine).

The operator of the Chrysler, 23-year-old Morgan Jade Lake of Sunderland, Md., was able to unbuckle her seat belt, free herself from the vehicle and swim to safety at a nearby bridge pier abutment.  She was transported via Medevac to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, where she was treated for minor injuries. Neither    Mr. Lovasz nor the driver and passenger in the Mazda were injured.

The July 19 crash report also references a crash from April 13, 2013, in the same location on the eastbound span involving two passenger vehicles.  The April crash involved a vehicle coming to rest on the barrier wall. There were no injuries or structural damage to the bridge from the April crash.

“Both the April and July crashes were a direct result of distracted driving.  Every one of us has immense responsibility behind the wheel,” said Col. Kundrat. “With two similar incidents over the last few months, we are taking a closer look at this area of the bridge to evaluate what can be done to enhance safety. We’re analyzing potential strategies including flashing Congestion Ahead signs, requiring headlight use during two-way traffic operations and additional rumble strips.”

In the 60-year history of the Bay Bridge, the April and July crashes are the only known incidents where passenger vehicles rode up and rested on the barrier wall or went into the water.  Overall, the safety record on the Bay Bridge is four times safer than the Statewide rate.

The NTSB issued its Preliminary Report on Aug. 19, 2013.  The NTSB has the MDTA’s full cooperation as it works to issue a final report.  A timeframe for the completion of the final report has not yet been determined.

The MDTA Police’s collision reconstruction report is available online at mdta.maryland.gov.  The MDTA Police will have increased patrols over the Labor Day Holiday weekend at the Bay Bridge and all MDTA facilities with a focus on aggressive and distracted driving.

Additional Information:

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The Maryland Transportation Authority Police, a nationally accredited force, is the seventh-largest law-enforcement agency in the State, with more than 600 sworn and civilian law-enforcement professionals. MDTA Police officers provide law enforcement at the Authority’s highways, bridges and tunnels; at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport; and at the Port of Baltimore.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 22, 2013

Contact:          Cheryl Sparks                                                                 

 410-537-1017                                                   

                                                                                   Ikeando

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 nearly 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. 30, and Monday, Sept. 2:

  •          William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 333,000.
  •          John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – more than 436,000.
  •          Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95, I-395) – more than 452,000.

An additional 550,000 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 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 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 cash toll rate for two-axle vehicles at the Bay Bridge is $6.

Those traveling in or around Downtown Baltimore should note that the Baltimore Grand Prix will bring additional traffic to the area Friday through Sunday and may result in major delays on I-95 during peak travel periods.  Motorists whose destinations are north or south of the city are urged to use I-895 or I-695 to avoid Downtown traffic.  Portions of I-395 will be closed between Wednesday, Aug. 28 and Tuesday, Sept. 3.  Consider public transportation – Light Rail, Metro Subway and Local Bus provide transit options.  Visit mta.maryland.gov for more information.

Reminder:  The Maryland House travel plaza along the JFK Highway is closed for redevelopment 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. 

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. 
  •          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 Police will continue to enhance highway safety and target aggressive drivers during the fourth wave of the Smooth Operator Program from Sept. 1 through Sept. 7.  

The MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3.

In accordance with the State’s budget-reduction plan, MDTA offices will be closed on Friday, Aug. 30, 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. 3.

 

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

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Aug. 19, 2013

 

Contact: Cheryl M. Sparks, 410-537-1017

 

Statement from Maryland Transportation Authority on

National Transportation Safety Boards Initial Report

from Investigation of July 19 Bay Bridge Crash

 

Baltimore, MD The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) was notified today that the National Transportation Safety Boards Office of Highway Safety released their initial report for their investigation of the

July 19, 2013, accident on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  In response, Acting MDTA Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner offers the following statement:

 

"The NTSB has the full cooperation of the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) as investigators prepare their final report and recommendations related to the Bay Bridge crash on July 19.  NTSBs initial report issued today does not indicate any structural concerns for the barrier type used on the Bay Bridge and on interstate bridges across the country.

The MDTA Police investigation, conducted in coordination with Maryland State Police, is nearing completion.  The MDTA Police Collision Reconstruction Unit expects to release its report within the next two weeks.  At that time, they will provide the cause and sequence of the crash, along with any charges.

Safety does not take a vacation.  We urge all drivers to partner with us and to put safety first when traveling the Bay Bridge.  Motorists can be assured that the MDTA will persist in looking for ways to improve safety at all of its bridges, tunnels and highways."

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

July 24, 2013

Contact: Cheryl M. Sparks, 410-537-1017

 

Statement from Maryland Transportation Authority on National Transportation Safety Boards Decision to Conduct Investigation into July 19 Bay Bridge Accident

Transportation Authority Welcomes Independent Review to Ensure Safety of Motoring Public

 

Baltimore, MD - The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) was notified today by the National Transportation Safety Boards Office of Highway Safety on their decision to launch an investigation in response to the July 19, 2013, accident on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  In response, Acting MDTA Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner issued the following statement:

"We welcome the NTSBs involvement in our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of motorists crossing the Bay Bridge.  We are constantly looking for ways to make crossing the span as safe as possible.  From major physical upgrades to public information efforts designed to target distracted driving and speeding, our customers should know that we are committed to their safety and that we will work closely with NTSB staff during their investigation.  We appreciate Senator Barbara Mikulskis advocacy on this issue, including her call for NTSB to look into this accident."

The average number of crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is significantly lower on the Bay Bridge than it is on statewide roads.  From 2008 to 2011, the bridge averaged 43 crashes per 100 million VMT compared to the statewide average of 166 crashes per 100 million VMT.  The bridge carried approximately 28 million vehicles last year.

The NTSBs involvement follows last Fridays accident in which a car traveling on the eastbound span was pushed over the jersey barrier by a tractor trailer.  The MDTA Polices Crash Reconstruction Unit is working closely with the Maryland State Police to determine the exact cause of the accident.

The Bay Bridge crosses the Chesapeake Bay along US 50/301. Its dual spans provide a direct connection between recreational and ocean regions on Marylands Eastern Shore and the metropolitan areas of Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington, D.C. At 4.3 miles, the spans are among the worlds longest over-water structures. The original span opened in July 1952 and provides a two-lane roadway for eastbound traffic. The parallel structure opened in June 1973 and has three lanes for westbound travelers.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Valerie Burnette Edgar (SHA), 410-545-0303

Kelly Melhem (MDTA), 410-537-1017

Buel Young (MVA), 410-762-5188

Gregory M. Shipley (Maryland State Police) 410-653-4236 or 4200

 

ENJOY YOUR SUMMER ROAD TRIPS…
BUT STAY FOCUSED ON RULES OF THE ROAD !

August Traditionally Most Traveled and Deadliest of Summer Months

(July 23, 2013) – With most Marylanders and visitors in summer mode, it is a good time to remind drivers that there is no vacation from the basic rules of the road.  Whether making the annual pilgrimage to the beach and mountains or daily treks to summer camp and work, the Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) and Maryland State Police are urging travelers to stay on guard in the driver’s seat, and make solid, safe choices when traveling roadways this summer.

“Our mission at the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is to keep travelers on the go and get them to their destinations and back home safely,” said State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “We’re asking for drivers to keep the summer safe by driving attentively and sober.”

According to the Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office, traffic crashes kill more people in August than in any other month.  In August 2012, 50 people were killed in Maryland vehicle crashes.  More than 90 percent of all fatal traffic crashes are preventable because they are caused by driver error.

"I want to stress to every driver in Maryland that distracted driving and aggressive driving increase a driver’s chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash,” said John Kuo, Maryland's Highway Safety Representative and the Administrator of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. “Everyone who operates a vehicle on our roadways has a responsibility to drive safely, to devote their full attention to the task of driving and to avoid engaging in risky driving behaviors that jeopardize the safety of everyone.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 660,000 drivers, at any given moment during the day, use a hand-held cell phone while operating their vehicle.  In 2011, nearly 53,000 people in Maryland were involved in crashes as a result of distracted driving.

 “Although the accident rate on the Bay Bridge is far lower than the statewide rate, drivers crossing the span need to slow down and focus on the road,” said Acting MDTA Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner.  “When you’re crossing the Bay Bridge, it’s not the time to take photos, ‘check in’ on social media, talk on the phone or text.  Always stay alert and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.”

The average number of crashes per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT) is significantly lower on the Bay Bridge than it is on statewide roads (MDTA, SHA and local).  From 2008 to 2011, the overall crash rate on statewide roads 166 crashes per 100 million VMT compared to 43 crashes per 100 million VMT on the Bay Bridge.

In partnership with Toward Zero Deaths, the blueprint to end roadway fatalities, Maryland law enforcement are patrolling Maryland roadways and stopping and removing unsafe drivers.

 "Traffic crashes happen in an instant and are most often caused by a driver whose inattention or failure to obey the basic rules of the road jeopardizes the safety of the other motorists in the area," Maryland State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus L. Brown said.  "State Police summer safety enforcement efforts are underway in every region of the state, especially where data indicate crashes occur most often. Through strict enforcement initiatives on both east and westbound Rt. 50, Maryland state troopers are working to ensure drivers are operating safely before they reach the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Every driver's full time and attention should be given to driving whenever they are behind the wheel, but especially when crossing the Bay Bridge."

Reminders for the Road:

•          Drive focused – Maryland law prohibits hand-held cell phone use and texting while driving.

•          Buckle up!  It’s the law in Maryland and your number one defense in a crash.

•          Place children in the proper child safety seat.

•          Move over to an adjacent travel lane away from emergency personnel  - Maryland law requires it.

•          At the Bay Bridge, obey overhead lane signals and use your headlights in two-way traffic.

•          Travel during off peak hours and allow extra time for unexpected delays.

•          Check your vehicle’s lights, tires, battery and windshield wipers for proper operation.

•          Slow down and pay attention, avoiding distractions such as cell-phone use, changing CDs, sightseeing and eating.  Observe all posted speed limits.

•          Never drink and drive!  Designate a sober driver. 

•          Drivers with cellular phones can dial #77 or 911 to report suspected aggressive or drunk drivers and disabled vehicles.

•          In the unfortunate case you are involved in a minor crash, please safely move your vehicle from the travel lanes – it’s Maryland’s law.

•          Watch for pedestrians and cyclists.  Give at least three feet of space when passing bicyclists and stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.

•          When walking and cycling, use crosswalks.  See and be seen!

In inclement weather:

•          See and be seen.  Maryland State law requires the use of headlights while windshield wipers are in use.

•          Wet road surfaces are not ideal and require particularly attentive driving.

•          Slow down, increase your distance between the vehicle in front of you, avoid distractions and drive defensively.

•          Be aware of wind warnings and restrictions that may be in effect at Maryland bridges. 

Know before you go, and use 511! The 511 travel advisory system provides road conditions and travel times for interstates and major highways throughout the State. Call 511 or visit www.md511.org.  As a special feature, callers can short cut the menu options for shore routes by stating “Reach the Beach.”

For Bay Bridge updates, log onto www.baybridge.com or call toll-free 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726).

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 11, 2013

 

Contact:          Cheryl M. Sparks

                        410-537-1017

 

NEW LAW GETS TOUGH ON TOLL VIOLATORS

 

Transition process provides opportunity to pay tolls due without fees;

Toll violators now risk possible suspension of vehicle registration

 

BALTIMORE, MD – On July 1, a new law went into effect that should motivate toll violators to pay their overdue tolls.  This law gives the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) the ability to suspend the vehicle registration of toll violators who choose not to pay their tolls.  MDTA has begun the transition to a new civil citation process to help the agency recoup the money owed by those who use the State’s toll facilities and never pay up.

The new law, to be fully implemented in early October 2013, also provides anyone with an unpaid toll prior to July 1, 2013, a unique opportunity to pay their toll balances without having to pay fees.  Toll violators who do not take advantage of the transition period will receive a new Notice of Toll(s) Due (NOTD) under the new law beginning in October for their unpaid tolls and then will be subject to a civil citation and $50 fine for each toll violation.

“Every dollar counts, but this isn’t just a money issue – it’s a fairness issue for the 99 percent of motorists who do pay their tolls,” said MDTA Acting Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner.  “Thanks to the leadership of Del. James E. Malone, Jr., and the hard work of the House Environmental Matters Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, Maryland now has the ‘teeth’ needed to collect unpaid tolls from repeat offenders.”

House Bill 420, which passed both the House and Senate unanimously, allows the MDTA to continue Video Tolling – sending the registered owner a bill to pay the toll after traveling – at all eight of its toll facilities.  Under the new law, vehicle owners who do not pay their NOTD within 30 days will receive a civil citation and $50 fine for each toll violation, on top of their Video Tolls owed.  The owner will have the option to contest the citation in district court.  Failure to pay the Video Toll and fine could lead to non-renewal or suspension of the owner’s vehicle registration and/or referral to Maryland’s Central Collection Unit (CCU).

The MDTA has ended the practice of imposing administrative fees on unpaid toll accounts, and the CCU is referring any uncollected tolls back to the MDTA.  Fees are currently being removed from toll violations, and the account owners will receive a statement showing only the unpaid Video Tolls due.  This statement will include information on the new law and is expected to reach customers by the end of July.

Customers with unpaid tolls in Maryland can pay by the following methods:

·                    Visit ezpassmd.com;

·                    Mail check/money order payable to E-ZPass Maryland to P.O. Box 17600, Baltimore, MD 21297;

·                    Visit an E-ZPass Maryland Stop-In Center;

·        Call the E-ZPass Maryland Customer Service Center during regular business hours (7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Monday – Friday) at 1-888-321-6824.

The new citation process paves the way for reciprocal agreements with other states to strengthen interagency collection of outstanding tolls, as well as for the growth of all electronic tolling (AET) in Maryland.  The Intercounty Connector/MD 200 is the State’s first AET facility, and the new I-95 Express Toll Lanes – anticipated to open late 2014 in northeast Baltimore – also will use AET.  The MDTA is studying the feasibility of removing toll plazas and using AET at its other toll facilities in the future.

Tolls are the primary source of revenue for the MDTA and its bridges, tunnels and highways.  The MDTA does not receive general State funds or Transportation Trust Fund dollars.

 

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 27, 2013

 

Contact: Cheryl M. Sparks, MDTA, 410-537-1017

               Valerie Burnette Edgar, SHA, 410-545-0303

 

NEW STUDY CONFIRMS ICC TRAVEL TIME SAVINGS AND

 CONGESTION RELIEF ON AREA ROADS

ICC Motorists Saving up to 25 Minutes

BALTIMORE, MD – Since opening between I-370 and I-95 in November 2011, Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 drivers have cut their travel times in half when compared to travel on local east-west routes, according to a study released today by the MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) and the State Highway Administration (SHA).  Motorists who continue to travel local routes during peak hours also are experiencing time savings.  According to the ICC Before & After Traffic Study, these motorists have experienced a five to 11 percent reduction in travel times, compared to before the ICC opened.  Along with more consistent travel times, traffic on commuter routes like MD 650, MD 198, MD 28, MD 108 and MD 115 has decreased by five to 10 percent.  

“This report confirms that the ICC is saving time, increasing reliability and reducing delays for those traveling between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary and MDTA Chairman James T. Smith, Jr. “The study confirms the ICC also is succeeding in delivering efficient travel times to local businesses and providing key infrastructure to support future economic growth.”

Within the study area, the percentage of time traveling without congestion during peak morning hours increased from 24 percent before the ICC was built to 46 percent after the ICC was operational.  The evening peak hour traffic went from 20 percent uncongested conditions before the ICC to 42 percent after the ICC opened.

“A trip between I-370 and I-95 on the ICC saves up to 25 minutes compared to driving local routes,” said MDTA Acting Executive Secretary Bruce Gartner.  “Traffic volumes are right in line with our projections.  Each weekday, nearly 40,000 vehicles now travel the ICC between

I-370 and Georgia Avenue and about 30,000 vehicles travel between US 29 and I-95.”

“The ICC is working,” said SHA Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “Travel through communities such as Burtonsville and Colesville is more reliable and dozens of intersections in the corridor are less congested.  One of the goals of the ICC was to divert traffic from overburdened area roads with homes, schools, civic and faith destinations.  We are giving communities back their neighborhoods.”

The study identified the following parallel routes to the ICC, which all experienced an improvement in travel time reliability and reduction in congestion since the ICC’s opening:

·        South Gaithersburg to Laurel: MD 28, to Bel Pre Road, to Bonifant Road, to Good Hope Road, to Briggs Chaney Road. 

·        Rockville to Calverton: Montrose Road, to Randolph Road, to Cherry Hill Road, to MD 212. 

·        South Rockville to Beltsville: Shady Grove Road at Crabbs Branch Way, to MD 115, to MD 28, to MD 198, to US 1.

The three-year before/after study, which began in spring 2010, was performed by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board/Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and is available at mdta.maryland.gov.

Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.  Follow SHA on Twitter at @MDSHA and on facebook.com/Maryland State Highway Administration.
 

http://www.mdta.maryland.gov/ICC/Saving_Time.html

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2013

 

Contact:           Cheryl Sparks or Kelly Melhem, 410-537-1017

 

*REMINDER*

NEW TOLL RATES & OTHER CHANGES EFFECTIVE JULY 1

 

BALTIMORE, MD – At 12:01 a.m. on Monday, July 1, 2013, new toll rates for all vehicle classes and additional changes take effect at Maryland’s toll facilities.  The new toll rates and other changes were approved by the Maryland Transportation Authority’s (MDTA) Board on Sept. 22, 2011, following a 60-day public comment period and will provide the necessary revenue to pay the debt for rehabilitating MDTA’s aging bridges, tunnels and highways and for constructing additional highway capacity in the Baltimore and Washington regions.

New two-axle toll rates at fixed toll facilities (does not include the Intercounty Connector):

·      E-ZPass® Maryland Discount (commuter) rates:*  $1.40 at the Fort McHenry (I-95) and Baltimore Harbor (I-895) tunnels and the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695); $2.80 (round trip) at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) and Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40); $2.10 (round trip) at the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301); and $2.10 round trip at the Bay Bridge. These rates are 65% off the cash rates. NOTE: Customers whose accounts do not have auto-replenishment will need to check their accounts often to ensure that their accounts are funded, as balances will deplete more quickly.

·      E-ZPass Maryland Standard Plan rates (10% off the cash/base rate): $3.60 at the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels and the Key Bridge; $7.20 at the JFK Highway and the Hatem Bridge; and $5.40 at the Bay and Nice bridges.

·      Cash toll rates: $4 at the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels and the Key Bridge; $8 at the JFK Highway and Hatem Bridge; $6 at the Bay and Nice bridges.

·      Video toll rates:  $6 at the Fort McHenry and Harbor tunnels and the Key Bridge; $12 at the JFK Highway and Hatem Bridge; $9 at the Bay and Nice bridges.

*Effective July 1, plans for the Bay and Nice bridges are $52.50 for 25 trips.  The Baltimore Regional Plan is $70 for 50 trips (two “trips” are used at the JFK Highway and Hatem Bridge because tolls are collected in one direction). Plans end after 45 days or when all trips are used, whichever comes first.

Additional approved changes effective July 1, 2013:

·         The price of the E-ZPass Hatem Bridge Choice “A” and “B” Plans increases to $20 per year.  The plans are offered for two-axle vehicles only and provide unlimited trips at the Hatem Bridge. 

·         All A-Series tickets for the Hatem Bridge will have expired by this date.  No refunds will be provided.

·         The E-ZPass Bay Bridge Shoppers Discount Plan is $30.  This plan offers a 50% discount for 10 trips that are valid for 90 days, good Sunday through Thursday only.

Additional information, including new toll rates for three or more axle vehicles, is available at mdta.maryland.gov. Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA

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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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 9, 2013

 

Contact:          John Sales

                        410-537-1017

 

BRIDGE DECK PROJECT UNDERWAY ON RAMP FROM NORTHBOUND I-97 TO NORTHBOUND I-895

Ramp closed 24/7 for three months

 

                      

BALTIMORE, MD - The MD Transportation Authority (MDTA) announces a $3.3 million bridge deck overlay and repair project for the ramp from northbound I-97 to northbound I-895 in Anne Arundel County.  This preservation project, funded completely by toll revenue, is part of the MDTA's commitment to preserving and maintaining the State's aging toll bridges, tunnels and highways.

Beginning on or about Sunday, May 12, the ramp from northbound I-97 to northbound I-895 will be continuously closed (24/7) for approximately three months.  The detour route will direct motorists to westbound I-695 (Inner Loop), to northbound MD 295, to northbound I-895.  The ramp from MD 2 (Ritchie Highway) to northbound I-895 will remain open during the three-month closure period.  Single-lane and shoulder closures may be in effect on I-895 during off-peak hours.

Although the I-895 ramp will be closed for three months, the total project is expected to last until early 2014.  The Marksmen Company of Baltimore will remove the existing concrete deck surface and replace it with a latex modified concrete overlay.  Work also includes drainage improvements and miscellaneous structural repairs.

The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel Thruway (I-895) and I-97 and its approach roadways and ramps were opened in 1957 and 1993, respectively.  A cleaning and painting project for various bridges along

I-895 is expected to be complete this fall.  A deck replacement project for the I-895 bridges over Patapsco Avenue, Potee Street and Hanover Street in Baltimore City is expected to be complete by summer 2014.

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 the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.

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

 

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