New lane closing gates are ready for prime time on Chesapeake Bay Bridge

Starting Tuesday, using the Chesapeake Bay Bridge’s reversible lane will no longer feel like entering a construction zone.

Instead, drivers will see the new bridge’s automated lane closure system kick into action.

The new system will instead use horizontal gates that swing open, illuminated pavement markers, full color message boards and overhead lane use signals according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.

The goal is to also make the process of changing lane directions quicker on the bridge. Before, crews had to drop cones and barrels from trucks to redirect traffic.

According to the MDTA drivers on westbound US50/301 approaching the bridge from the Eastern Shore will be the first to see the new gates kick into action. The phasing of portions of the system is expected to be phased in on Western Shore side of the bridge this winter as well.

The process is also expected to make things safer for drivers, by giving them more time to figure out what is happening and get into the correct lane when a change in direction occurs. It will also allow for traffic directions to be quickly modified if a crash blocks lanes, and begins delaying traffic.

The MDTA said barrels will still be used at first until, as drivers get used to the new system.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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