For Immediate Release
MDOT SHA Communications – 410-545-0303
MDOT MAA/BWI Marshall Communications – 410-859-7027
MDTA Communications – 410-537-1017
MDOT MTA Communications – 410-767-8367
Motorists Urged to Slow Down, Stay Alert, Use Seat Belts and Travel Off-Peak
(May 25, 2021) – With the lifting of Maryland's mask mandate and the continuing recovery from COVID-19, this Memorial Day weekend will be time for many long-awaited family gatherings, trips and vacations. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) wants everyone to enjoy this holiday weekend – and many more – and is stressing safety as the highest priority as travelers return to roads, rails and airports.
“After enduring a long period of challenge and sacrifice due to the pandemic, Marylanders are anxious to spend time with family and friends at our state's beautiful beaches, mountains and parks," MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “As we celebrate, we must work together to promote safety and ensure Memorial Day is a time for joy and remembrance, not tragedy. Please help protect yourself, your family and your fellow travelers by slowing down, avoiding distractions and making certain everyone in your vehicle is using a seat belt."
Many travelers are accustomed to lower traffic volumes during the pandemic, and yet Maryland experienced an increase in highway fatalities last year. With traffic expected to increase over the Memorial Day weekend, MDOT is urging all drivers to follow these tips:
- Buckle up. It's the law. Make sure all passengers, including those in the back seat, are using seat belts.
- Slow down. Observe all posted speed limits.
- Don't drive impaired. Never drink and drive.
- Pay attention. Avoid distractions such as cell phones. Don't text and drive.
- Be patient. Travel during off peak hours and allow extra time for unexpected delays.
- Be prepared. In case of emergency, drivers with cell phones can dial #77 to reach Maryland State Police.
Travelers should remember face coverings are still required on public transportation, including Maryland's rail and bus vehicles and stations, and at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.
Congestion on Maryland roadways is expected to begin Friday, May 28, along routes including US 50 to Ocean City, I-70 and I-68 toward western Maryland and I-95 north toward Delaware. Volumes are expected to be heavy Saturday and Sunday, May 29-30, and delays are likely Monday, May 31, as travelers return home. MDOT State Highway Administration will suspend major lane closures for non-emergency roadwork from 5 a.m. Friday, May 28 through 6 a.m. Tuesday, June 1. Emergency patrols will be on duty to assist disabled vehicles and clear incidents. Go to roads.maryland.gov for real-time traffic information.
For those crossing the Bay Bridge, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is advising motorists they should expect delays over the weekend. Heavy eastbound traffic volumes are expected Thursday through Saturday, May 27-29, with heavier westbound traffic volumes expected Sunday and Monday, May 30-31. Motorists should stay on US 50 on both sides of the bridge to keep local roadways open for first responders and residents.
The best off-peak times to travel the Bay Bridge over the holiday weekend will be:
- Thursday, May 27 – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Friday, May 28 – before 8 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Saturday, May 29 – before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
- Sunday, May 30 – before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
- Memorial Day Monday, May 31 – before 8 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
Travelers are reminded all-electronic (cashless) tolling is permanent statewide. Drivers do not stop at toll booths, and tolls are collected through E-ZPass, Video Tolling or the newest way to pay, Pay-By-Plate, which allows tolls to be automatically billed to a registered credit card. E-ZPass remains the most cost-effective method, saving drivers up to 77%. Enroll in E-ZPass or sign up for Pay-By-Plate at the MDTA's new DriveEzMD.com website.
For 24/7 Bay Bridge traffic information call 1-877-BAYSPAN (1-877-229-7726) or visit Baybridge.com. Travelers can also sign up for email/text alerts at https://bit.ly/2Dh9EZn. For real-time updates on major incidents on Maryland toll roads follow the MDTA at twitter.com/TheMDTA.
For those traveling along I-95 in northeast Maryland, Maryland House (mile marker 82) and Chesapeake House (mile marker 97) travel plazas are open for food, rest and Wi-Fi access, with indoor and outdoor seating. While face coverings are no longer required in state owned or leased buildings, they are still recommended for those unvaccinated against COVID-19. In addition, all visitors may continue to wear a face covering if they desire.
Public access to BWI Marshall terminal remains for ticketed passengers only
Passenger traffic is expected to increase this weekend at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and travelers should give themselves plenty of time for check-in. Air travel has been building in recent weeks, and Thursday, May 20, was the busiest day for departing passengers since the beginning of the pandemic. In April, the Transportation Safety Administration recorded 502,153 departing passengers at BWI Marshall – up 1,312% compared to April 2020 when the global pandemic was having its greatest impact.
Federal regulations continue to require face coverings or masks inside airport terminals and on commercial aircraft. BWI's terminal remains open only for ticketed passengers, badged employees and those providing assistance to passengers in need. Those picking up passengers are asked to park in the garage to await the flight arrival. Last month, BWI Marshall Airport reopened long-term parking. Seventy-one percent of airport food and retail concessions are now open.
The BWI Marshall Airport community is focused on safe and healthy travel. Health and safety initiatives include enhanced cleaning and sanitation; hand sanitizer dispensers throughout the terminal; protective barriers at security checkpoints, ticket counters and information desks; and physical distance markers in high-traffic areas. Health information is provided on information displays and overhead announcements. For more details, go to https://www.BWIairport.com/COVID19.
Transit service operating on modified schedule
MDOT Maryland Transit Administration will operate on a modified schedule Memorial Day, May 31. CityLink and LocalLink buses, Light RailLink and Metro SubwayLink will operate on the Sunday/Holiday schedule on Memorial Day, and Commuter Bus will operate Bus Route 201, running odd numbered trips on the Weekend/Holiday schedule. MARC Train will not operate Memorial Day.
MobilityLink will not operate subscription rides over the Memorial Day weekend. Customers must call the MobilityLink Call Center – which will be open Memorial Day – at 410-764-8181 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to reschedule May 31 rides.
In accordance with state and federal guidance and to protect our customers and team members, all riders using public transit are required to wear face coverings. For more details, go to mta.maryland.gov/coronavirus.