Third Bay Bridge Location Remains a Challenging Decision

Baltimore Sun article (2018-03-18) provides an update on Maryland’s consideration of a third bridge span across of the Chesapeake Bay. A third span would create significant local land use and transportation planning consequences in the area where it was located. According to the article, a $5 million environmental impact study is underway and will not be concluded for several years but the topic has already generated more than 500 public comments to the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA). A new span is estimated to cost over $10 billion. Potential locations include a crossing between Baltimore and Kent counties, a third bridge next to the current two connecting Anne Arundel County with Kent Island in Queen Anne’s County, and a crossing between Calvert County and Dorchester County. MDTA also indicated in the article that it is considering the option not to construct a new span.

The article offered a variety of perspectives on a new bridge and its proposed location, a small sampling of which is presented here:

“If we do not seek solutions to alleviate congestion across and around the bridge, the heavy traffic in the region will only continue to get worse,” [Governor Larry Hogan spokesperson Shareese Deleaver-Church] said. …

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a nonprofit focused on restoring the health of the bay, has written a 10-page letter to [MDTA Executive Director Kevin] Reigrut raising concerns about the environmental impacts of a third bridge. …

Any new span will face significant opposition from the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and other conservation groups. Many oppose a new crossing, no matter where it’s built. …

AAA Mid-Atlantic supports the construction of a new bridge.

“More capacity across the bay is critically important not only for transportation and congestion-relief, but for the economic health of the Eastern Shore as well,” spokeswoman Ragina Cooper Averella said.

The article also discussed the challenge a new span would pose to Eastern Shore County officials, who want economic development and growth while preserving the rural character of their region.

 

 

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