The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), in cooperation with Queen Anne’s County, is in the middle of the US 50/301 (Blue Star Memorial Highway) ramp management pilot project on the Eastern Shore to encourage drivers heading westbound to the Bay Bridge to stay on US 50/301 and keep MD 18 (Main Street) open for emergency responders and residents.
When Route 50 backs up, impatient motorists spill onto local roads. The ensuing traffic gridlock severely hinders the ability of first responders to respond to emergencies. As such, emergency responders and public health officials say the gridlock poses a severe risk to the health and well-being of County residents.
The rising popularity of navigation apps like Waze and Google Maps only exacerbates the situation. Drivers looking for the quickest route around beach traffic are often directed to neighborhood streets, creating new congestion on residential roadways unequipped to handle the influx of cars.
The pilot program, which launched on September 16 and continues each Saturday and Sunday for three consecutive weekends, restricts access to westbound US 50/301 at three locations:
- Service road/Shopping Center Road between Exit 39A (Castle Marina Road) and Exit 38 (Duke Street)
- Duke Street (Exit 38)
- MD 8 (Business Parkway/Romancoke Road, Exit 37)
Drivers will continue to have access exiting US 50/301 onto MD 8 and MD 18 but will not have access to enter onto westbound US 50 at these locations from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, September 16, 17, 23, 24, 30, and October 1. Detour signs will direct motorists to MD 18 east to Castle Marina Road south to westbound US 50.
The County plans to host town hall meetings later this year to hear community feedback. In the meantime, Queen Anne’s County Commissioners Jim Moran and Chris Corchiarino answer questions about the US 50/301 Ramp Management Pilot Program.