Brace for Bay Bridge Pre-Thanksgiving Gridlock

It just might be the perfect storm on what is typically the busiest travel day of the year: the day before Thanksgiving.

Nearly half a million people are predicted to cross the Bay Bridge this Thanksgiving week, in the midst of the bridge deck rehabilitation project that has already snarled traffic in Anne Arundel and Queen Anne’s Counties, on both sides of the bridge. The backups, which have stretched up to 12 miles at times, prompted Governor Larry Hogan to order transportation leaders to speed up the project to an earlier finish date.

As a result, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) explains, “To expedite the rehabilitation project, crews are working day and night, seven days a week, and will continue during Thanksgiving week.”

The $27 million project requires the Bay Bridge westbound span’s right lane to remain closed. MDTA explains that the deck surface of that lane has reached the end of its service life and is “severely deteriorated.”

Ahead of the holiday, MDTA has been warning drivers of severe delays, recommending drivers add 20 to 30 minutes to their planned trip. To help ease congestion, cashless tolling will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily on Wednesday through Saturday.

“We’re expecting nearly 465,000 vehicles to cross the Bay Bridge during the holiday week, and so we’re urging travelers to go early, stay late, and cross the bridge during our recommended travel times, when we expect the least number of vehicles,” said MDTA Executive Director Jim Ports.

MDTA released the following list of recommended times to cross the Bay Bridge during the Thanksgiving holiday:

Eastbound: Tuesday through Friday, November 26-29, before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Monday, December 2, before noon and after 8 p.m. 
Westbound: Tuesday and Wednesday, November 26-27, before 5 a.m. and after 6 p.m.Thursday through Sunday, November 28-December 1, before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m. Monday, December 2, before 5 a.m. and after 2 p.m.

MDTA Police will continue to work with Maryland State Police and local police to monitor traffic flow on US 50 and parallel routes.
-Meg Walburn Viviano