FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2015
Contact: Cheryl M. Sparks, MDTA, 410-537-1017
Valerie Burnette Edgar, SHA, 410-545-0303
MAJOR ROADWORK ON I-95
SOUTH OF THE FORT MCHENRY TUNNEL
MAJOR DELAYS EXPECTED - AVOID I-95 IN BALTIMORE CITY
Motorists Traveling Thru Baltimore City Should Use I-695/Key Bridge Or
Construction Start Marks National Work Zone Safety Week
BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) announces major construction will resume this spring on mainline I-95 and ramps between the Fort McHenry Tunnel and Caton Avenue (Exit 50) in Baltimore City. Motorists are strongly advised to avoid I-95 in Baltimore City during the upcoming construction season (spring through fall) and find alternate routes into the City. The project involves numerous traffic pattern changes, detours and ramp closures. Transportation officials encourage commuters to try transit, telework or alter their work schedules to avoid peak commute times.
“This work will cause major gridlock along I-95 through Baltimore,” said Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn. “Drivers should plan ahead or plan to sit in traffic.”
The $64 million preservation project, funded completely by toll revenue, includes continuous (24/7) lane closures, shifted or split traffic conditions, full-time and part-time ramp closures with detours, reduced lane widths and the elimination of shoulders. Crews are removing and replacing the existing concrete deck (driving surface) and roadway joints along approximately five miles of I-95 south of the Fort McHenry Tunnel.
“If you drive on I-95 south of the Fort McHenry Tunnel, the best resource for finding out real-time traffic information is through Twitter – #i95bmore – or online at i95bmore.com,” said MDTA Executive Director Bruce W. Gartner. “Also don’t forget to tune into your local radio and TV stations to listen to their traffic reports.”
State transportation officials have coordinated closely with Baltimore City transportation officials throughout the course of the project. City officials will deploy Traffic Enforcement Officers (TEOs) at critical intersections to help facilitate the movement of traffic and adjust signal timing throughout downtown as necessary.
“Commuters are strongly advised to seek alternate routes when traveling in and out of Baltimore City during peak hour travel times in order to avoid congestion and delays,” said Baltimore City Director of Transportation William M. Johnson.
The I-95 construction project is one of hundreds of work zones throughout Maryland including mobile operations such as pothole repair and mowing. When drivers see orange construction signs, cones and barrels, they should anticipate road work, stay alert, obey speed limits, slow down and, if possible, move over. To highlight work zone safety, the Federal Highway Administration and partners declared March 23-30 as National Work Zone Awareness Week, and Governor Larry Hogan proclaimed April as Maryland Work Zone Safety Awareness Month.
“Unfortunately, nine people were killed in Maryland work zones last year –both highway workers and drivers.With hundreds of construction projects across the State, we as drivers need to slow down and pay attention for the safety of everyone on the road,” said State Highway Administrator Melinda B. Peters. “Think orange as soon as you see the orange ‘Road Work Ahead’ sign. If you see a work zone, the best practice is to move over, if you can do so safely.”
On or about Sunday, March 22, for approximately six weeks, all lanes on northbound I-95 will shift to the right between Caton Avenue (Exit 50) and Russell Street (Exit 52).
On or about Saturday, March 28, for approximately eight weeks, southbound I-95 traffic lanes will split after the Fort McHenry Tunnel with two lanes to the left and two lanes to the right. Prior to entering the Fort McHenry Tunnel, motorists must stay right to access: Exit 55 (Key Highway), Exit 53 (I-395) and Exit 52 (MD 295). Thru traffic stay to the left. E-ZPass is accepted in all toll lanes.
On or about Monday, March 30, for approximately eight weeks, northbound I-95 traffic lanes will split with three lanes to the left and one lane to the right from Exit 54 (Hanover Street) to Exit 55 (Key Highway). To use Exit 54 or Exit 55, traffic MUST be in the right lane prior to the split at Exit 54. Traffic entering northbound I-95 from I-395 will use Fort McHenry Tunnel Bore 4 (right tube). E-ZPass is accepted in all toll lanes.
Major delays are expected through the fall including the following stages later this year:
- From mid-June to mid-August, the left lane on northbound I-95 from Caton Avenue (Exit 50) to Washington Boulevard (Exit 51) will be continuously closed. The MDTA strongly urges commuters to avoid I-95 through Baltimore during this time and use I-695/Key Bridge or I-895 as alternate routes.
- In early fall, for two to three weeks, only one lane will be open on the ramp from northbound I-95 to I-395 (Exit 53) for all commuters heading into the City. Currently this ramp has two lanes of traffic.
Construction began in spring 2014 and major traffic impacts are anticipated to end in fall 2015. G.A. & F.C. Wagman, Inc., of York, Pa. will repair and replace bridge decks and improve roadway drainage. Work also includes miscellaneous structural repairs. Temporary lane closures will be restricted to off-peak and non-event hours during days, nights and weekends. Mainline I-95 travel lanes will be reduced from 12-foot to 11-foot lanes during traffic shifts. Work-zone speed limits are reduced to 50 mph on northbound and southbound I-95. Work-zone safety speed cameras will be used in this construction zone.
The Fort McHenry Tunnel opened in 1985. Bridges along I-95 north of the tunnel were resurfaced in 2001 and 2004. This work will be the first resurfacing project on I-95 south of the tunnel since the bridges were built between 1974-1978. This section of I-95 ?carries on average up to 205,000 vehicles per day.
Motorists should pay attention to portable and overhead electronic signs and static signs for up-to-date travel information. For additional project information, visit i95bmore.com. For real-time updates on major incidents follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/TheMDTA or use #i95bmore. Find us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA. The MDTA thanks its customers for their patience and reminds them to Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt!!