Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is calling on the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to “shut down” a construction project on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The $27 million deck rehabilitation project on the westbound span has led to severe traffic backups in recent weeks.
MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn last week apologized for the delays, reassuring the Board of Public Works that the state is working to mitigate traffic congestion during the long-term construction project.
According to MDOT:
The project involves replacing the deck surface of the westbound span right lane, which is closed 24/7 from October to April, with additional continuous closures Monday through Friday in May, when traffic volumes are at their lowest. Work also includes making deck repairs, sealing the bridge deck and replacing existing lane signal gantries and steel rail posts.
MDTA is taking a number of steps to minimize traffic backups during the project, including the implementation of cashless tolling at the Bay Bridge from noon to 10 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays until further notice. All tolls will be collected electronically, with no cash accepted. Drivers who usually pay with cash will move through the plaza without stopping and will be mailed a statement to pay their toll at the cash rate.
MDTA officials will closely monitor traffic backups. On Thursdays and Fridays, under severe backups and weather permitting, MDTA will implement two-way operations on the westbound span so traffic can move in both directions at reduced speeds, providing three lanes eastbound and one westbound. During two-way operations, speed will be restricted to 25 to 35 mph. MDTA Police will travel the westbound span for enforcement and to help slow vehicles down. The public can help by staying alert, keeping speeds down and maintaining a safe distance.
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.