The Bay Bridge redecking project that was originally scheduled to close lanes for up to two years is now finished more than a year ahead of time.
All lanes have reopened on the westbound bridge span from Queen Anne’s to Anne Arundel counties after crews rehabilitated the deck of the right lane, which had crumbled to “the end of its service life, presenting a safety risk,” according to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDTA).
On Wednesday MDTA released a video montage of the progress beginning in September 2019 to thank drivers and the community for their patience during the project:
When construction began last fall, the traffic impact went beyond expectations, causing backups up to 11 miles long at times and prompting Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to order the project expedited.
Recently, the construction was forecast to be finished by the summer travel season, but now it’s finished a couple of months earlier than that. MDTA says for the final push, work crews took advantage of lower traffic volumes due to the COVID-19 social distancing effort.
“Maryland is facing significant challenges these days, and of course our primary focus is on the health and safety of our citizens amid the ongoing COVID-19 threat,” said Governor Hogan. “But it’s important to celebrate the reopening of the westbound right lane of the Bay Bridge, because for me it represents the spirit, dedication and work ethic that will see our state through any crisis.”
Some minimal work will take place in the center and left lanes of the westbound span during overnight and off-peak hours, with little traffic impact expected.
Of course, with Maryland under a stay at home order, it may be awhile before most folks are able to enjoy travel to places beyond their side of the bridge. But when we are able to resume outings, MDTA says the bridge will be ready.
“This will be one less thing for Marylanders to be concerned about as we rise out of our health crisis,” points out Maryland Transportation Secretary and MDTA Chairman Gregory Slater.
MDTA reports the plan to begin all-electronic tolling at the Bay Bridge by this summer is still on schedule, with installation about 70% complete.
-Meg Walburn Viviano