Change coming to avoid huge Bay Bridge backups

After horrendous Friday backups at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that lasted hours and stretched for 14 miles approaching the bridge on U.S. 50, the Maryland Department of Transportation will change what happens in the future.

When eastbound traffic backs up to Interstate 97, the department will hold westbound traffic on the bridge for short periods of time to allow three lanes of traffic headed to the Eastern Shore and Delmarva beaches, unless prevented by severe weather conditions.

The backups occurred on the first weekend that the bridge did not have two-way operations on the westbound span because of a long-term, $27 million maintenance project.

The backups were so bad that they prompted the Maryland Transportation Authority to temporarily waive tolls on the bridge.


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The delays approaching the bridge started late Friday morning as beachgoers anxious to get another weekend on the sand headed out early. The weather in Ocean City, Bethany and Rehoboth is expected to be beautiful, with temperatures in the upper 70s.

Crowds also were expected in Ocean City for the unofficial H2Oi event that draws sometimes rowdy car enthusiasts to the town. Concerns about the event prompted the town to put in effect a special event zone that lowers speed limits to 30 mph throughout the resort.

The traffic on U.S. 50 didn’t let up until after 11 p.m. Friday. Until then, it crawled from Cape St. Claire Road to the Bay Bridge toll plaza, where 11 toll lanes funneled down to just two lanes.

Starting Monday, Sept. 30, the delays could get worse as the right lane of the westbound span of the Bay Bridge will be closed 24/7 for the roadwork.

Listen to WTOP Traffic for updates on all traffic matters and call 1-877-BAYSPAN for the latest on the bridge.

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