Maryland moves on Bay Bridge toll booth demolition to head off summer gridlock

The perennial choke point for travelers headed to the region’s beaches or Maryland’s Eastern Shore will soon require less stopping, with the hope of keeping traffic moving to, over and past the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Starting in the next few weeks, drivers will see demolition of some of the existing toll booths to create wider lanes at the bridge plaza and to get ready for all-electronic tolling.

Since the autumn beginning of construction to replace the bridge’s deck surface in the right lane of the westbound span, the Maryland Department of Transportation has instructed drivers to keep moving through the poll plaza, even if they don’t have E-ZPass.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asked MDTA to begin cashless tolling at the bridge as soon as possible.

With only five months to go until Memorial Day weekend’s flood of summer traffic, the state transportation agency faces a substantial challenge in avoiding gridlock, in the midst of the two-year construction project.

Starting the evening of Sunday, Jan. 12, toll lanes 3, 4 and 5 will permanently close to allow workers to dismantle the toll booths in those lanes.

On the Eastern Shore, crews will prepare to install overhead tolling gantries between the bridge and MD-8 on Kent Island. Once the overhead system is in place, drivers will be tolled as they get off the bridge.

While all-electronic tolling is expected to be in place by summer, MDTA asks drivers to remain alert, as the toll plaza will remain an active work zone until 2022, when demolition and roadway reconstruction will be complete.

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