Expect Bay Bridge Delays Due to High Wind

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Everyone is watching and waiting to see if Winter Storm Riley's high winds will cause restrictions or closures on the Bay Bridge.

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is warning drivers that the agency will likely have to suspend two-way operations for the Friday afternoon rush hour, so expect delays.

MDTA says drivers should also monitor the bridge's status for any other potential wind warnings, restrictions, or even temporary traffic holds at any MDTA bridges, into Sunday March 4. The agency says "Any decision to hold traffic at a toll facility would be based upon current weather at a given facility."

Anyone can call 1-877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) for 24/7 conditions at the Bay Bridge.

MDTA also warns drivers to keep their speed low and both hands on the steering wheel during these conditions, as wind gusts are unpredictable.

Here is the full list of MDTA's possible wind restrictions at any given time:

• Wind Warnings (sustained wind speeds of 30-39 mph for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 30 mph over a period of 15 minutes) 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.

• Limited Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds of 40-49 mph for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 40 mph over a period of 15 minutes) house trailers, empty box trailers or any vehicle that, in the opinion of law-enforcement personnel, may not safely cross the bridge will be prohibited from traveling the bridge. Motorists who are denied passage will be assisted with safely turning around.

• Full Wind Restrictions (sustained wind speeds exceeding 50 mph for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 50 mph over a period of 15 minutes) only automobiles, pickup trucks, flatbed trailers, commercial buses and heavy-laden tractor/trailers are permitted to cross the bridge. Tractor-box trailer combinations will not be permitted to cross any bridge if the gross weight is less than 64,000 pounds.

• Traffic Holds/Bridge Closure (sustained wind speeds exceeding 55 mph for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; or wind gusts persistently exceed 55 mph over a period of 15 minutes) In the event of a sudden increase of sustained wind speeds or wind gusts that could jeopardize life or property, the MDTA may elect to discontinue the movement of all traffic across the bridge.

Bay Bulletin