Maryland officials prepare for beginning of Bay Bridge summer traffic

Memorial Day is one of the busiest traffic days of the year, especially on the way to Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

In preparation for the increase in traffic, Maryland Transportation Authority police officers conducted “high visibility traffic enforcement” along US-50 near the Bay Bridge on Friday.

They issued 277 citations and stopped 189 cars, with one driver being charged with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Another two drivers were charged with drug offenses, police said in a news release.

The goal was to reduce crashes and educate motorists prior to Memorial Day weekend, according to a news release.

Maryland State Police officers, Anne Arundel County police officers and officers from the Queen Anne’s County police joined the MDTA in the effort.

When’s the best time to travel over the Bay Bridge on Memorial Day weekend?

AAA is predicting a 4% increase in the number of people hitting the road to travel this Memorial Day weekend. They’re estimating a record 38.4 million people will be driving.

In the D.C. area, Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer beach trips, meaning the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is one of the busiest routes with traffic often backing up for miles.

Last year, WTOP’s Dave Dildine in the Traffic Center recommended that drivers leave at 2 a.m. to avoid getting stuck in Bay Bridge traffic. 

MDTA recommended in 2023 that Memorial Day travelers plan to cross the bay before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m. throughout the weekend.

That time changed a little bit on Saturday afternoon, with the best time to travel beginning after 4 p.m. On Sunday, they recommended that drivers cross before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m.

For those heading over the Bay Bridge, there’s a bit of an extra challenge with some scheduled construction this week.

There are still lane closures until Tuesday on the bridge. However, there are no scheduled lane closures between May 23 and 27, so long weekend vacationers can get their beach fix.

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Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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