FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 19, 2014

 Contact: John Sales
                410-537-1017

 

SUMMER 2014 TRAVEL SEASON
KICKS OFF WITH MEMORIAL DAY
Reminder: Headlights are required at all times on the Bay Bridge

 

BALTIMORE, MD – As the unofficial start to summer approaches, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds the more than 1.7 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 23, and Monday, May 26:

  • Bay Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 333,000.
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – more than 452,500.
  • Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95, I-395) – more than 477,000. 

An additional 534,500 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 $6.
  • Consider the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 in your travel route to the Eastern Shore.

Reminder:  If driving on the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95), the new Maryland House is open for service and the Chesapeake House is closed for reconstruction.  The Chesapeake House reopens Summer/Fall 2014.

Please be aware of the new safety signage installed on the Bay Bridge, including:

  • MANDATORY HEADLIGHT USE AREA signs along both the westbound and eastbound bridges. Headlights are required at all times on the bridge;
  • Curve warning signs and 40 mph speed-limit signs prior to curves on the westbound and eastbound bridges;
  • YOUR SPEED IS signage on the bridge;
  • DO NOT TAILGATE signs on the westbound and eastbound bridges;
  • To be installed after Memorial Day weekend: CONGESTION AHEAD signs with flashers to activate during heavy congestion to warn motorists of the potential for slowed/stopped vehicles.

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 23, at 5 a.m. through Tuesday, May 27, at 9 a.m.

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

  • Pay attention to 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.
  • Law requires that every passenger in a moving vehicle be secured with a seat belt or child safety restraint.  Click It or Ticket.
  • 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.”
  • 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 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 Tuesday, May 27.

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