BALTIMORE, MD — As summer comes to an unofficial close, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) reminds the nearly 1.8 million motorists anticipated to travel its facilities over the Labor Day holiday weekend to plan ahead; travel off-peak; and Drive Smart. Arrive Safe. This total represents a one percent increase in traffic volumes compared to last year.
MDTA officials anticipate the following number of vehicles to travel its toll facilities between Friday, Aug. 30, and Monday, Sept. 2:
- William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial (Bay) Bridge (US 50/301) – more than 333,000.
- John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (I-95) – more than 436,000.
- Fort McHenry Tunnel (I-95, I-395) – more than 452,000.
An additional 550,000 vehicles are projected to travel the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695), the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895), the Thomas J. Hatem Memorial Bridge (US 40) and the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge (US 301) combined. All totals represent traffic in both directions.
The MDTA offers the following travel tips for this holiday weekend:
Travel off-peak when heading to and from beach destinations. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include:
- Thursday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Friday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Saturday – before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
- Sunday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Labor Day Monday – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
Don’t Wing It. Plan Ahead!
- Call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions.
- Visit baybridge.com to view traffic cameras at the Bay Bridge and to sign up for email alerts.
- Follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA and facebook.com/TheMDTA.
- Ease your travel with E-ZPass. Visit ezpassmd.com to enroll on-line and for a list of E-ZPass “On the Go” retail locations.
- Know Before You Go – call 511 or visit MD511.org for statewide travel information. To view real-time traffic camera images on MDTA roadways, visit mdta.maryland.gov.
- For current toll rates, visit mdta.maryland.gov and click on Toll Rate Calculator. The cash toll rate for two-axle vehicles at the Bay Bridge is $6.
Those traveling in or around Downtown Baltimore should note that the Baltimore Grand Prix will bring additional traffic to the area Friday through Sunday and may result in major delays on I-95 during peak travel periods. Motorists whose destinations are north or south of the city are urged to use I-895 or I-695 to avoid Downtown traffic. Portions of I-395 will be closed between Wednesday, Aug. 28 and Tuesday, Sept. 3. Consider public transportation – Light Rail, Metro Subway and Local Bus provide transit options. Visit mta.maryland.gov for more information.
Reminder: The Maryland House travel plaza along the JFK Highway is closed for redevelopment and is expected to reopen fall/winter 2013. The Chesapeake House remains open for fuel and food services.
Keeping traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible is the MDTA’s priority. The MDTA Police will remain vigilant and target aggressive and impaired drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity. The MDTA Police and Vehicle Recovery Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles.
For your safety and the safety of other motorists and emergency personnel:
- Pay attention to new lane markings and rumble strips on the Bay Bridge westbound span. Lane changes between the westbound left and center lanes are prohibited for the entire span, whether or not two-way operations are in effect.
- Obey posted speed limits and overhead lane-control signals.
- Devote your full attention to driving – it is illegal to text and use hand-held cell phones while driving in Maryland.
- Keep a safe following distance to avoid rear-end collisions.
- Do not change lanes while traveling over bridges and through tunnels.
- Keep your eyes on the road – do not sight-see.
- Make sure your vehicle is “road ready”– one disabled vehicle can cause extensive backups.
- If your vehicle becomes disabled, remain inside and call #77 for assistance.
- Move-over when passing an emergency situation. If you are unable to move over, slow down.
The MDTA Police will continue to enhance highway safety and target aggressive drivers during the fourth wave of the Smooth Operator Program from Sept. 1 through Sept. 7.
The MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 28, to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 3.
In accordance with the State’s budget-reduction plan, MDTA offices will be closed on Friday, Aug. 30, including the E-ZPass Maryland Stop-in Centers and Customer Service Center. Visit ezpassmd.com or use the automated system at 1-888-321-6824 to sign up for E-ZPass, update account information or make payments via credit card. Offices will reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
The MDTA thanks motorists for their patience. Stay Alert So No One Gets Hurt! For Statewide traffic conditions, visit md511.org. For the most up-to-date information follow us on Twitter at TheMDTA or on Facebook at facebook.com/TheMDTA.
Cheryl Sparks, MDTA