FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oct. 26, 2012

Contact:          John Sales

                        410-537-1017

MDTA PREPARES FOR HURRICANE SANDY
Follow the MDTA on Facebook, Twitter & 1-877-BAYSPAN for Updates

BALTIMORE, MD – As Hurricane Sandy approaches the mid-Atlantic region, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) announced today that every effort will be made to keep its bridges and tunnels open during the storm, as long as conditions are safe for travelers.

Motorists crossing the Bay Bridge (US 50/301) and other bridges are reminded that bridge closures will occur when sustained wind speeds OR wind gusts exceed 55 miles per hour.  Anyone planning to travel from the Eastern Shore to the Western Shore to ride out the storm is encouraged to do so in advance of the severe weather reaching the area.

“The MDTA will use a variety of tools to monitor real-time weather conditions at all of its facilities, particularly the Bay Bridge,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and MDTA Chairman Darrell B. Mobley.  “Decisions regarding traffic on the Bay Bridge will be made utilizing multiple wind sensors providing real-time wind speeds and a network of new cameras positioned along the 4.3 miles of the bridge that provide extensive views of both spans.  The MDTA also has improved procedures for closing and reopening the bridge when needed and enhanced communication and working relationships to coordinate with local EMS services.”

On all MDTA bridges, wind warnings and restrictions would be implemented as outlined below:

  • Wind Warning (sustained wind speeds or wind gusts of 30-39 mph) – operators of house trailers, box trailers, motorcycles, vehicles with roof-mount racks containing cargo or any other vehicle that may be subject to high winds are advised to use caution while traveling across the bridge.
  • Wind Restriction I (sustained wind speeds or wind gusts of 40-49 mph) – house trailers, empty box trailers or any vehicle that, in the opinion of law-enforcement personnel, may not safely cross the bridge will be prohibited from traveling the bridge.  Motorists who are denied passage will be assisted with safely turning around.
  • Wind Restriction II (sustained wind speeds or wind gusts exceeding 50 mph) – only automobiles, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses and heavy-laden tractor/trailers are permitted to cross the bridge.  Tractor-box trailer combinations will not be permitted to cross any bridge if the gross weight is less than 64,000 pounds.
  • Traffic Holds/Bridge Closure (sustained wind speeds or wind gusts exceeding 55 mph) – In the event of a sudden increase of sustained wind speeds or wind gusts that could jeopardize life or property, the MDTA may elect to discontinue the movement of traffic across the bridge.

Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA, facebook.com/TheMDTA and mdta.maryland.gov for the most up-to-date information.  For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions, call BAYSPAN at 1-877-229-7726 or visit www.baybridge.com.  For statewide travel conditions, visit www.MD511.ORG or call 511.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency stresses awareness and preparedness as Hurricane Sandy approaches Maryland.  Go to www.mema.state.md.us for the latest storm track and preparedness information.