Maryland Transportation Authority Approves Third Bay Crossing

thirdbaybridge

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After decades of studies and debate, the Maryland Transportation Authority has announced that a third Bay Bridge span has been approved for construction. Work will commence in January of 2016 and will be completed sometime over the summer of 2018. There are currently four bridges that traverse the Chesapeake Bay in two pairs of crossings; one at the southern tip of the Delmarva Peninsula and one at the expanse between Annapolis and Kent Island.

The current plan, which had been quietly developed over the past three years by the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) sifted through the numerous studies that had been commissioned since the late 1970s. There were four potential sites that were considered as ideal candidates, but in the end, it was decided that the current infrastructure needed to be utilized as part as any plan. Taking that factor into consideration, it was decided that a third span would added to the Kent Island crossing, although it would not be constructed parallel to the current spans.

Annapolis Traffic Problems

“This took some outside-the-box thinking,” said Todd Worthy, Associate Engineer for MDTA. “You can’t plop a bridge down just anywhere. You need to take natural traffic patterns into account. Two large eastbound traffic flows, Routes 50 and 97 from Washington D.C. and Baltimore, respectively, converge at Annapolis. It is difficult to re-route that volume of traffic. So that became our starting point.”

Additional Routing Of Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The plan calls for a four-lane span to cross diagonally from Farragut Road in the Bay Ridge neighborhood one mile south of Annapolis to join the current spans where they meet Kent Island. Traffic would be routed from Route 50 down the Forest Drive Corridor through the affluent community of Bay Ridge. The new span would be over seven miles in length, making it more than a mile longer than either of the current bridges.

While news of this project will be welcomed by beachgoers and commuters, reactions in the Bay Ridge neighborhood were muted.

Bay Ridge Community Reacts

“I don’t even know where to begin with this,” said Ray Cooper, president of the Bay Ridge Neighborhood Association, when asked for comment. “And to think that twenty-four hours ago we were so worried about the added congestion of the Crystal Spring development. And now this? Call me old fashioned, but I just have trouble envisioning thousands of cars per hour whizzing through a residential area at 70 miles an hour. There are kids riding bikes out there!”

Worthy admitted that there will be some challenges for people when it comes to traffic, but it will all come down to an attitude adjustment and keeping positive.

“I don’t think that it will be as bad as these neighborhood associations are making it out to be,” laughed Worthy. “Sure, there will be a traffic increase, but it is for the greater good. We have a few thousand cars a day per day traveling Forest Drive now, the new bridge will probably increase that to about 100 to 150 thousand. Sure, that looks bad on paper, but if residents just adjust and leave five minutes earlier for work every morning, they’ll be fine.”

Worthy also conceded that there would need to be some minor upgrades made to Forest Drive with an addition of three more lanes. The speed limit would be increased from the current 40 miles per hour to 65. In addition, it was announced that approximately 450 houses would be appropriated and removed to facilitate the new construction. This news caused immediate outrage among residents of the Forest Drive Corridor, although there was enthusiastic support among several members of Annapolis city council.

Annapolis City Council On Board

“I am tired of the naysayers in this town turning positives into negatives,” said Kenny Kirby, Alderman, Ward 6. “Why focus on the thousands of people losing their houses? They’ll probably just buy houses somewhere else, anyway. The bottom line is that this project will provide dozens of moderately-paying temporary jobs to residents who need them.”

The current mid-bay spans accommodate over 38 million cars annually, which pay tolls to cross eastbound on the span. Tolls increased from $2.50 in 2011 to the current $6 in order to cover maintenance of Maryland’s roads and bridges. Alex Touren, spokesman for the MDTA, said that a new toll plaza will be constructed at the terminus of Forest Drive, where Bay Ridge Road begins.

“The toll at the Bay Ridge Plaza will cost the same as that at Route 50.” said Touren.  “But the very moment that the new bridge construction is paid for, which we project will happen in eight years, that toll will be lifted. The toll is temporary. We know we’ve said that before, but we absolutely mean it this time.”

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Category: State of Maryland

About the Author ()

I am the Assoc. Editor for The Crabwrapper--please do not leave off the "oc" because I will totally go postal on you. Women are NOT to be objectified! Basically, my job is to try to prevent shit from getting up the chain to my boss Mark. Oh, and I do write some stuff too!

Comments (22)

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  1. Just can’t leave things along as usual. What are they doing, taking lessons from the department of transportation in Virginia (VDOT)???

  2. Matthew Vollono says:

    Where did you get this information? I can’t find mention of this anywhere (including MTA). Please advise

  3. Sean Meade says:

    So. Rather than building a bridge further north or south to alleviate the bottlenecking of traffic from Washington and Baltimore on Kent Island and in the Annapolis area, they’re just going to throw another span in and call it a solution. Brilliant

  4. Brian Hagberg says:

    Satire people…

    • SvenHock says:

      Amazing the amount of people who actually believe this article. It’s got traction on Facebook now. Smh. Lol

  5. John Smith says:

    This is absolutely pathetic, the people and their houses…taking a mans house so another can get to O.C. 1/2 an hour quicker, the devaluation of homes at the Ridge, and then to say we’ll take down the toll booth after 8 years once the bridge is paid for. What a laughing joke, libtard Md. taking any money making tool off the table. I’ll bet my retirement if that plan goes thru, the toll booth will never be pulled up. This from a state that makes motorcycles pay the same toll rates as cars, when it benefits the state to have motorcycles on the road. They should’nt pay anything in the form of tolls. I just looked at my registration the other day for the Harley…and it’s as much as a car! This state is beyond pathetic. I cant wait to retire, I’ll be outta here quicker than you can flick a light switch. Put the bridge with the rest of them.

    • A reminder... says:

      You do realize this is satirical, right??

      • John Smith says:

        Yes, and I was satirical right back. In 2008 when I had to get an EZPass, it was .40$ to go thru the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel or the Key bridge, .80$ a day. I now pay $1.40 each way….$2.80 a day to cross a 30+ year old bridge that should be paid for by now…a tunnel that still isn’t paid for…but for a 1 mile stretch have hundreds of MDTA Police to collect more revenue in the form of fines. In 6 years my salary didn’t jump 3-4 times, how does a toll? Just who has the information on when will these bridges and tunnels be paid off, what is the interest, and who holds the bonds or handed out the credit? Other states allow motorcycles to freely move through tunnels/bridges because its two wheels, less than a 1,000 pnds. and usually rides the center of the lane where other traffic does not use. I believe the last reg. for the Harley was $85 for 2 years…how did it jump to $105? That’s $30 less than a reg. car. Just who is making these crazy decisions.

        • Ben says:

          I don’t think satirical means what you think it means. It’s difficult to take someone seriously when they use words like libtard when they don’t recognize the word satire even after it’s pointed out to them.

  6. Gerard Buckley says:

    This must be an April Fools joke!

  7. Cindy Schmidt says:

    We are absolutely paralyzed from April to October with traffic here in Talbot County due to Rt. 50 dividing the county. Just what we need more jammed into 2 lanes after they cross. To NO benefit of the Eastern Shore towns and counties between the Western Shore and the beach. How about spending some money here on the Eastern Shore to solve the current issues created by the OC traffic – and that will give you some time to figure out a smart solution without killing another community and buying 450 homes from under people. Did you all really vote that Kenny Kirby in?? He seems real concerned for the neighborhood.

    • Andrew says:

      You do realize that this article is completely not true and just a satire piece, don’t you?

    • Mark Dignen says:

      This entire website is satire. It’s not real. That being said I still want to reply to you. You mention the traffic doesn’t beneitt the eastern shore. You couldn’t more more wrong. The entire 50/404 corridor thrives because of beach traffic. Take away that traffic and you take away countess jobs and tax revenue. Good luck with that.

  8. Joe diamond says:

    Ya know,
    With all these assumptions made about parallel spans we have lost sight of the possibilities contained in perpendicular spans.

    Likewise, public input has just slowed things down. We get a bridge czar on the job…..the magic marker comes out………… If you are in Crisfield and want to get to Solomon Island you take the cross bay tunnel.
    Tired of being in Essex? Take the Rock Hall exit from the Baltimore Beltway and hit the shore!

    Joe

  9. Judy Duer says:

    Oh my God, Forest Drive is a night mare now at Rush hour, what will it be like on Thursday’s and Friday’s in the summer. It’s no wonder this was kept a secret. Just can’t wait for the “I told you so’s!

  10. Pat C. says:

    has to be a satire. It would never fly as the community of Bay Ridge would tie this up in court for years.

  11. Eileen R. says:

    Kent Island residents are already basically trapped for the entirety of every summer. For example, my church is three miles from the house. It takes me five minutes to get there on summer Sundays and half an hour or more to get home because the “beach people” get off of Route 50 and clog up our secondary roads.

  12. Kevin C says:

    This is satire, yes, but shouldn’t satire be funny? This is not funny, doesn’t even rise to the level of amusing.

  13. BRboy4life says:

    Absolutely loved this when I read it! So funny! Love everyone hating on BR.

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