FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 27, 2014
Contact: Cheryl M. Sparks or John Sales
MDTA ANNOUNCES $500,000
IN BAY BRIDGE SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS
HEADLIGHTS REQUIRED AT ALL TIMES
BALTIMORE, MD – At a Fiscal Year 2015 budget hearing today before the members of the Senate Budget and Taxation Subcommittee on Public Safety, Transportation and Environment, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) management team outlined $500,000 in safety upgrades for the Bay Bridge, including requiring vehicles to use their headlights at all times on the bridge. The safety upgrades to be made in 2014 are part of $300 million in capital projects to be completed at the Bay Bridge in the next six years.
“At the Bay Bridge alone, the MDTA has invested more than $210 million in safety and preservation upgrades in the last 10 years, and plans to invest $300 million more over the next six years,” said MDTA Executive Director Bruce Gartner. “As the MDTA continues to preserve and improve our facilities, our top priority remains the safety of our customers and employees. Through rigorous inspections, repairs, maintenance and enforcement, we can ensure the integrity of our vital infrastructure and the safety of those who travel it.”
Prior to the summer travel season, $500,000 in new safety improvements will be implemented at the Bay Bridge, including:
§ Requiring the use of headlights at all times on the bridge with “Mandatory Headlight Use Area” signs installed along both the westbound and eastbound
§ Adding curve warning signs and 40 mph speed-limit signs prior to curve on eastbound bridge;
§ Installing “Your Speed Is” signage on the bridge;
§ Adding “Congestion Ahead” signs with flashers to activate during heavy congestion to warn motorists of the potential for slowed/stopped vehicles; and
§ Adding a “Do Not Tailgate” sign to the eastbound bridge approach during times of congestion.
Bay Bridge includes the following projects that are underway or planned:
- Westbound Span Painting Project – $94 million
Began – Spring 2011; Estimated Completion – Fall 2016
This four-phase project cleans and paints the structural steel components of the westbound span -- the first full painting since it opened in 1973. The project includes the painting of girder, deck truss, through truss and suspension spans, the suspension towers and steel rail posts.
- Cable Rewrap/Dehumidification System for Eastbound/Westbound Bridges – $54 million
Began – Summer 2012; Estimated Completion – Fall 2015
This project wraps the main suspension cables and installs a dehumidification system on both spans.
- Rehabilitate Suspension Span on Westbound Bridge - $50 – $60 million
To Begin – Fall 2015; Estimated Completion – Spring 2017
This project will rehabilitate the suspension span on the westbound bridge by installing two supplemental cables on each main cable. The project is currently in design with construction funds to be added to the Draft FY 2015 – 2020 CTP. The suspension cables are visually inspected each year. Internal inspections of the cables are based on the age and condition of the cables, a procedure that follows federal guidelines.
- Deck Upgrade Study of Eastbound Bridge - $10.7 million
Began – Spring 2012; Estimated Completion – Fall 2014
This comprehensive study of the eastbound bridge’s concrete deck will determine if the span requires a deck replacement, deck overlay or a combination of the two.
- Bay Bridge Life Cycle Cost Analysis - $1 million
Began – August 2013; Estimated Completion – Summer 2015
This study will establish when major system preservation work and routine maintenance is required for both the eastbound and westbound bridges. The study will determine how long until a replacement bridge is necessary based on multiple factors from structural condition to capacity and operations. The analysis will develop various concepts for a replacement crossing, considering constructability, maintenance of traffic during construction and pedestrian/bicycle options.
As part of regular maintenance, independent, certified and nationally experienced engineering firms inspect all MDTA bridges, tunnels, roadways, lighting and signage annually, which exceeds federal inspection standards.
During the last five years, the MDTA has strengthened its inspection program by increasing budgets and supplementing staff devoted to inspections, instituting requirements for more comprehensive hands-on inspections and enhancing procedures for addressing identified deficiencies.
For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic information, call 1-877-BAYSPAN (1-877-229-7726) or visit baybridge.com. Follow the MDTA at mdta.maryland.gov, twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.