BALTIMORE, MD – As of 1 p.m. today, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (US 50/301) and all of
MDTA facilities are open. The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has no
immediate plans to close any facilities in advance of the storm – every effort will be made to
keep its bridges and tunnels open as long as conditions are safe for travelers.
Motorists crossing the Bay Bridge and other bridges are reminded current weather conditions
will dictate their respective travel status. Closures will occur when sustained winds reach 55
miles per hour. Current forecasts indicate wind speeds could reach that point as early as
Saturday afternoon. Anyone planning to travel from the Eastern Shore to the Western Shore to
ride out the storm is encouraged to do so tonight or no later than early tomorrow morning.
“The weather over the next 24 to 36 hours is unpredictable,” said MDTA Chairman and
Maryland Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley. “If you are planning to cross
the Bay Bridge, don’t wait until the last minute to do so. Westbound traffic is expected to be
heavy so if you can, travel tonight and certainly no later than early tomorrow morning to make
sure that you are able to cross before the weather deteriorates.”
On MDTA bridges, closures for wind warnings and restrictions would be implemented as
• Phase I - Wind Warning (sustained wind speeds of 30-39 mph) - operators of house
trailers, box trailers, motorcycles, vehicles with roof-mount racks containing cargo or any
other vehicle that may be subject to high winds are advised to use caution while traveling
across the bridge.
• Phase II - Wind Restriction (sustained wind speeds of 40-49 mph) - house trailers, empty
box trailers, campers, recreational vehicles, hitch trailers with sides or any vehicle that -- in
the opinion of law-enforcement personnel, may restrict wind and may not safely cross the
bridge -- will be prohibited from traveling the bridge.
• Phase III Wind Restriction (sustained wind speeds exceeding 50 mph) – only automobiles,
pickups trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial busses and heavy laden tractor trailers are
permitted to cross the bridge. Tractor-box trailers weighing less than 64,000 pounds will
not be permitted to cross.
• Phase IV Wind Restriction (sustained winds exceeding 55 mph) – traffic may be held
during these periods.
Queen Anne’s County residents are under mandatory evacuation west of US 50/301 split. For
motorists traveling from the Eastern Shore toward Baltimore or other points west, an alternate
route for the Bay Bridge is northbound US 113, US 13 or DE 1 through Delaware, to
southbound I-95 in Maryland. Delaware traffic information will be posted on www.deldot.gov
and announced on WTMC-AM (1380).
Motorists may access statewide travel information including traffic and weather conditions at
www.MD511.org or calling 511. 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic conditions are available by calling
the BAYSPAN Hotline at 1-877-229-7726.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency stresses awareness and preparedness as
Hurricane Irene approaches Maryland. Go to www.mema.state.md.us for the latest storm track
and preparedness information.
The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is an independent State agency that finances, owns and operates the State’s eight toll facilities. The MDTA’s Board Members, appointed by the Governor with consent of the State Senate, serve as the agency’s policy-setting and governing body. Maryland's Secretary of Transportation serves as MDTA Chairman.
Cheryl Sparks or Teri Moss