Governor Larry Hogan announced $15 million to advance the state’s long-term “Reach the Beach” plan with safety, access, and congestion relief projects along MD 90 (Ocean City Expressway) in Worcester County. The funds enable the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) to accelerate planning and move to the design phase for improvements along the 12-mile stretch of MD 90 from US 50 to MD 528 (Coastal Highway).
During his keynote address at the MACo Summer Conference last August, Governor Hogan announced that the State of Maryland’s new Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP) would include $850,000 for the project planning phase for MD 90 improvements. Moving into the design phase is the next step to making this a shovel-ready project.
Hundreds of thousands of people visit Ocean City every weekend during the summer months, and many use MD 90 to reach the northern sections of the town. The western end of MD 90 at US 50 carries about 33,000 vehicles daily on summer weekends.
The highway currently experiences significant congestion in the event of a traffic incident or impediment on US 50 at the southern end of Ocean City. In addition, MD 90 and US 50 are primary hurricane evacuation routes.
In addition to enhancing safety and reducing traffic congestion, improvements on MD 90 would seek to increase response times for police, fire, and ambulance response, particularly during the summer months. As a result, Worcester County and Ocean City have identified improvements to the MD 90 corridor as their top transportation priority.
“MD 90 provides needed access to Ocean City for beachgoers, and also serves as a critical connector for residents and businesses,” said Maryland Transportation Secretary James F. Ports, Jr. “Governor Hogan’s commitment gives us the tools we need to deliver improvements in partnership with community residents, officials, and local agencies.”
According to a press release:
On Friday at the Bay Bridge, the governor announced that the state is advancing its strategy to address congestion and future traffic demand crossing the Chesapeake Bay, with the launch of the $28 million Bay Crossing Study Tier 2 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
“In 1987, Governor William Donald Schaefer launched a ‘Reach the Beach’ effort in order to modernize the state’s transportation infrastructure, relieve beachbound traffic congestion, and to make summer travel easier across the state,” said Governor Hogan. “After decades of inaction, our goal has been to finally fulfill that ‘Reach the Beach’ mission. By moving forward on a new Chesapeake Bay crossing and with the modernization of MD 90—the Gateway to Ocean City—we will be providing a safe, efficient, 21st century transportation system for the Eastern Shore, which will allow us to continue to grow our economy, and which will ensure that Marylanders and visitors alike can enjoy all that Ocean City and the Eastern Shore have to offer.”
Stay tuned to Conduit Street for more information.