The new plan will address tolls and speed up the construction timeline.
It has been three weeks since a construction project began on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and daily traffic backups are still near record highs. The two-year project on the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge to repave decking has resulted in daily backups on both sides of the bridge. To ease congestion, the Maryland Transportation Authority implemented cashless tolls on the weekends and resumed two-way operations on the westbound spans when backups are severe.
The construction project has not only caused backups at the bridge crossing but has overwhelmed access roads in Queen Anne’s and Anne Arundel counties. Locals have had trouble getting to work, school buses have been delayed up to an hour and a half, and county leaders have called for a halt in construction. After speaking with MDTA, MDOT, and officials of both counties, Governor Larry Hogan has announced a new plan of action for the project:
- Construction crews will begin working 24 hours a day.
- Electronic only at the bridge will begin as soon as possible.
- Traffic engineers will work on a plan with the neighboring counties to balance eastbound and westbound traffic.
- MDOT, Maryland State Police, and the State Highway Administration will help improve traffic conditions.
Governor Hogan has also asked the Maryland Department of Transportation to continue to look for other ways to expedite the construction, including using faster-drying concrete.
People across the state are frustrated and angry over the sometimes unbearable backups at the Bay Bridge. I want you to know that I am too. I am taking action to demand that every effort be taken to complete the project as soon as possible. pic.twitter.com/MJjU0mxwLV— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) October 16, 2019
"I have also tasked every agency and all state employees and contractors involved in this project to take every possible step to minimize its impact on citizens, and to aggressively communicate the steps being taken,” said Hogan.
Currently, 75 percent of the right lane work area is patched and deteriorating, making the redecking project urgent. Hogan said stopping work now would make a future project longer and more expensive.
Have you gotten stuck in the bridge traffic? How long did it take you to get through? Tell us in the comments!