With beach travel in full swing for the final month before schools start, the Maryland Transportation Authority has announced that maintenance work and inspections on the Bay Bridge will continue this week.
The eastbound and westbound spans will have overnight closures and daytime single-lane closures throughout the week, according to the MTA.
The eastbound span of the bridge is scheduled to close from midnight until 5 a.m. Monday, and again Monday and Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., with the westbound span converted to two-way traffic during those times.
The westbound span will close Wednesday night from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., Thursday night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and Saturday night from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The eastbound span will be converted to two-lane traffic during the westbound lane closures.
One lane of the westbound span could be closed during the daytime Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for maintenance. One lane of the eastbound span could be closed Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In addition, one lane will be closed for about 15 minutes Monday through Thursday for contractor pick-up.
More than 70,000 vehicles a day travel across the bridge, which was built in 1952 and connects the Chesapeake Bay’s eastern and western shores.
To avoid the worst of the traffic, the transportation authority recommends traveling during off peak-hours. According to the MTA, the best times to cross the bridge on weekends — lane closures notwithstanding — are:
- Friday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Saturday before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
- Sunday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
Gov. Larry Hogan launched a $5 million study — the Chesapeake Bay Crossing Study — about two years ago to explore possible options for a new bay crossing.
The study is expected to include traffic engineering and environmental analysis, cost-per-mile estimates, preliminary financing and procurement options, and an economics and land-use study, according to a 2017 Capital article.
That first phase, expected to conclude by the end of this year, will be a critical flaw analysis, identifying problems with locations — where the bay is too wide — or other issues, according to the article. The second phase will last until the end of 2020 and narrow potential sites even more until a final location is selected.